Most avid chocoholics know that chocolate is more than just a sweet treat for the senses. Cocoa, chocolate’s main ingredient, has neuroactive agents that can stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers and boost serotonin and endorphin levels. Its flavonoids also make it an excellent antioxidant. But there’s one major health benefit most people tend to overlook – chocolate can also help get rid of cramping and pains.
In one study, patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that triggers severe pain when walking, consumed 40 grams of chocolate with 85% cocoa content. They experienced a significant reduction in pain after two hours, allowing them to walk faster and longer. This improvement is attributed to high-cocoa chocolate’s ability to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, which is what causes pain. Chocolate can decrease isoprostanes, the inflammation molecules, and even prevent them from forming. And unlike the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, chocolate does not have adverse gastrointestinal side effects.
A single cup of cacao also has around 420 mg of magnesium, which means it can satisfy not just your sweet tooth, but also your adrenal glands. Magnesium can help ward off stress, help you relax, and improve the quality of your sleep. A deficiency can also trigger inflammation and could be the reason behind your cramps and pains.
To absorb enough magnesium, you need ample amounts of it in your diet. Unfortunately, commercially produced and processed chocolate has undergone heating and lacks the majority of the vital nutrients. Luckily, I have the perfect recipe — my Superfood Chocolate is completely organic and contains all the essential nutrients from all the superfoods. It’s easy to make and you can adjust it to suit your taste and dietary requirements.
Of course, adding more high-magnesium foods in your diet is only one step towards a healthier you. Since you need 400 to 1,000 mg a day, the road to optimal health would be much easier to traverse if you also absorb magnesium from supplements.
Would love to hear how your chocolate adventures went. Leave a comment below (and a photo of the finished product if you can)!