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Learn 7 of the benefits of chocolate by The Functional Chocolate Company

7 Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate has been studied for many years to understand and extract its health benefits. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, dark chocolate is loaded with powerful nutrients and antioxidants. Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods and contains vitamins, minerals, lipids, and fiber.  It has been linked to increased mood, reduced stress, increased libido, and other positive effects.

For maximum benefit, chocolate products should be of the “dark” variety and not be consumed in excess.  Eating too much, or consuming products with a high amount of sugar, could reduce or eliminate the benefits of chocolate.

1. Contains Nutrients & Antioxidants

High-quality dark chocolate has the most nutritional value. It contains soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals like:

  • iron
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • manganese
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • zinc
  • and selenium

It is abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains protein and caffeine. The amount of caffeine is nutrient-rich enough for stimulation but much less than you would find in coffee. So, it is unlikely that having a small piece of chocolate at night will keep you awake at bedtime.

It is important to eat dark chocolate bars in moderation. According to a Harvard University study, "choosing dark chocolate and eating modest quantities may offer the greatest health benefits."

2. Supports Libido

Chocolate contains two chemicals that are linked to arousal. The first is tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks of serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that supports the feelings of a happy mood.

The second is phenylethylamine (or PEA). This is a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain that causes you to fall madly in love. Phenylethylamine is a natural form of amphetamine that floods the regions of the brain involved in sexual excitement.

Dark chocolate can be infused with botanicals, vitamins, and amino acids to create a bar that supports an increased libido. A blend of fenugreek extract, damiana, tribulus, and maca was clinically shown to help promote feelings of intimacy and desire in our Sexy Chocolate bar.

3. Supports Symptoms of Menopause

Chocolate's mood-boosting properties are good for menopause. Many menopausal women report increased irritability due to their fluctuating hormone levels. These fluctuating levels  can cause mood swings, fatigue between meals, and low blood sugar levels. Having a piece of a dark chocolate bar can boost your mood, fight fatigue, and calm cravings.

Although dark chocolate alone can help to fight these effects. Infused dark chocolate can take the benefits to the next level. These natural botanicals can be added to increase the benefit of chocolate for menopause:

  • Estro-G 100® - A patented, plant-based formula of 9 natural herbs to help alleviate symptoms.
  • Evening Primrose Oil - Supports a healthy immune response and offers a light peppery taste.
  • Red Clover - A botanical high in isoflavones with a mild, vanilla-like flavor.
  • Wild Yam - Often called a "natural alternative" to estrogen therapy.
  • Licorice Root - Shown effective in reducing frequency and severity of hot flashes.
  • Dong Quai Root - Also known as the "female ginseng", it has been shown to help support a positive response to symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes.
  • Chasteberry - Typically used as an herbal remedy for symptoms like poor mood, poor sleep, and hot flashes, it offers a slightly bitter and peppery flavor.
  • Black cohosh - The most researched extract for menopause, it is most commonly used for hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, vertigo, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and irritability. It is often shown to have a cooling effect on the body.
4. Supports PMS Symptoms

During the pre-menstrual cycle, women specifically crave chocolate. This is partly due to its ability to mimic serotonin (the "feel-good hormone") and release endorphins. These endorphins work to help lessen pain and decrease stress.

There are also hormonal changes that occur during PMS. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone cause cravings for carbs and sweet foods like chocolate bars. Fortunately, dark chocolate contains magnesium. This mineral can help reduce water retention, bloating, breast tenderness, and mood symptoms.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PMS, your hankering for chocolate is real. Stick to a dark chocolate bar like Rhythm Chocolate to reap the health benefits of this craving.

5. Helps with Stress Levels

Eating dark chocolate gives you a moment of feeling less stressed. According to WebMD, people who eat a daily dose of dark chocolate enjoy lower levels of stress hormones. Those decreased hormones along with the natural mood-boosting effects of cocoa are two great benefits of chocolate as a quick go-to when you are stressed.

Highly stressed people can easily grab a bit of dark chocolate to help them chill out. We have infused formulas that support an alert state of relaxation. This is when your mind is clear and focused, and your body is calm. It's the place you want to be when you need to get things done.

6. Promotes Restful Sleep

Chocolate contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that cannot be produced by the human body and must be obtained through your diet. It plays a role in the production of melatonin, a naturally occurring substance that affects your natural sleep-wake cycle.

Another component of chocolate that leads to relaxation is theobromine. It has a similar effect to caffeine but theobromine is not nearly as strong as caffeine. Instead of causing “the jitters,” theobromine induces a calming, relaxing feeling to go along with the gentle stimulant effects.

Dark chocolate bars like our Sleepy Chocolate take the natural benefits of chocolate and combine them with powerful botanicals. Infusing dark chocolate with ingredients like chamomile, valerian, lavender, passionflower, and lemon balm along with PharmaGaba®, magnesium, and melatonin can help you fall asleep faster and soundly.

7. Boosts Energy

Chocolate is an energy-rich food. This is partly because chocolate has a low level of moisture and contains a significant amount of fat that is naturally found in cocoa beans. Dark chocolate that is consumed in the form of a bar also contains caffeine and sugar. This combination supports an energy boost.

As a general rule, the darker the chocolate and the less sugar, the more energy-boosting potential it has. Consuming less sugar prevents you from “crashing” when it wears off. Grabbing a few squares can push you through a workout or pull you through a mid-day slump.

Our Espresso Crunch Energy Chocolate was designed to lift energy and increase vitality. We blend a combination of natural ingredients with high-quality dark chocolate to offer a full-day boost without the side effects associated with other energy supplements.

Fun Ways to Add Dark Chocolate to Your Diet
  • Make a Hot Cocoa Treat: Dissolve a dark chocolate bark in your milk (either dairy or non-dairy) into a warm milk hot chocolate treat. Use skim milk or unsweetened almond milk if you are watching your weight. Unsweetened, vanilla-flavored almond milk is delicious in this recipe.
  • Chocolate Bars: Buy dark chocolate bars and keep them on hand. You can eat them anytime and they are great to give as gifts.
  • Puddings: Add raw cocoa powder to your homemade pudding. This works great in unflavored puddings like rice pudding or chia pudding. It also works well in vanilla puddings.
  • Smoothies: You can add pieces of a dark chocolate bar to your healthy smoothie recipe to give it a rich, chocolaty taste. Just break up a few pieces of your bar and add them to the blender.
  • Sprinkle Over Fruit: Give your fruit a little sex appeal. Use a cheese grater and shave our Sexy Chocolate bar into a delicious champagne and berry-flavored chocolate dust. Sprinkle the dust over your strawberries or bananas and enjoy.
Bottom Line

There are benefits of chocolate that cannot be ignored. It has been shown to:

  • Contain Nutrients
  • Boost Libido
  • Support Menopause
  • Support PMS
  • Offer Stress Reduction
  • Promote Restful Sleep
  • Boost Energy

Remember, all chocolate is not created equal. The darker, the better.

Order one of our Functional Chocolate bars now. Savor the flavor, get a botanical boost, and enjoy the sweet taste of health.