Theobroma Cacao, the Latin name for chocolate, means “Food of the Gods” for a reason. It’s a heavenly way to lift your performance.
We’re not talking about junk chocolate in candy bars and sweet desserts; dark chocolate has a long history being used as a healing plant, a mood enhancer, and even an aphrodisiac. So you’re in luck: you can indeed use high quality chocolate to take delicious control of your biology.
(Sidenote: The recent return of Bulletproof chocolate bars to our e-commerce shelves makes the info in this post particularly pertinent. Readers may also want to take notice of the discount on chocolate products included as products of the month for October.)
Chocolate Does Good Stuff You Didn’t Know About
You’ve probably read that chocolate affects your brain by causing the release of the “happiness neurotransmitters” – serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Like coffee, chocolate is also a potent source of polyphenol antioxidants.
But experienced chocolate hackers also know chocolate to be a useful tool for improving performance in lesser-known ways. In fact, cacao exerts a systemic effect on the body, with benefits ranging from improved healthy blood flow and cognition to beneficial alterations in gut bacteria! Here are some of the most important benefits of chocolate (besides taste…).
Here’s a visual infographic of the benefits of chocolate. Check it out!
1. High Pressure Mood Improver?
One of the most alluring effects of chocolate consumption is its improvement in mood. Your mood matters even more when you’re stressed. Luckily, chocolate can help even in high-pressure situations, according to one study. Participants were asked to complete serial subtraction tasks of threes and sevens (counting down by 3s and 7s), and a rapid visual information-processing task to test sustained attention. Those who consumed cocoa flavanol drinks prior to the trial had overall better cognitive performance and reported less ‘mental fatigue’ than the control group.
2. Chocolate makes you eat less?
One of my favorite effects of chocolate consumption is a reduction in appetite.One study quantified this by giving participants a 100 g serving of either milk or dark chocolate two hours before being served an all-you-can-eat lunch. Ingestion of dark chocolate was correlated with a 17% lower calorie intake at the following meal, compared to the milk chocolate group. (I’d imagine that it’s because the casein in milk binds to the polyphenols in chocolate, making them unavailable to your body.) The new Bulletproof Chocolate Bars are enriched with another appetite reducer, XCT Oil for a double impact.
3. Maintenance of a Healthy Cardiovascular System
Regular chocolate consumption is also associated with improved markers for cardiovascular health. Notably, the polyphenols in cacao increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), which in turns leads to decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)[5-6]. Other effects include higher levels of circulating nitric oxide, [7-9] and reduced platelet adhesion,[10-11], resulting in improved endothelial function.