At this time of year, it’s common to turn our attention to chocolate! So the question is – is chocolate really that good for me?

Chocolate is sourced from the cacao bean and is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, good fats and fibre. Research has shown it to contain over 300 naturally occurring nutritional and chemical compounds! It is these compounds responsible for most of the benefits of chocolate.

“Of these compounds, some of the most beneficial properties come from cacao’s antioxidants. Health benefits include reduced cell damage, healthy ageing, reduced cardiovascular risk and healthy cholesterol management.”

Chocolate is rich in minerals including magnesium and zinc, shown to assist in healthy stress management, blood pressure support and blood sugar control.

Cacao is also rich in amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Tryptophan is a precursor to the ‘happy’ hormone serotonin. Tyrosine is needed for healthy thyroid function and is a precursor to dopamine which assists concentration, mental clarity and motivation. Arginine is responsible for nitric oxide production and assists in improving blood flow and blood pressure management.

Chocolate is one of the few dietary sources of anandamide, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide binds to the same receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. It also contains phenylethylamine, a psychoactive compound dubbed the “love drug.” It purportedly gives you a buzz similar to being in love. Cacao encourages the production of feel-good endorphins, which bind to opiate receptors causing feelings of euphoria. There is a little caffeine in chocolate — enough to boost memory, mood, and concentration — but not enough to make most people feel wired.

Chocolate doesn’t just make you feel happier, it positively impacts brain health and function too.
It’s high in neuroprotective flavonoids, which promote brain plasticity and help brain cells live longer, reduce the risk of dementia and reduce cognitive decline.

There are a number of health benefits particularly worth noting for men. Cacao has been shown to positively influence testosterone levels (primarily by reducing the stress hormone cortisol) and assists in managing erectile function through enhanced blood flow.

For women, the nutrients in chocolate may assist in managing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) by reducing sugar cravings, menstrual cramping and supporting healthy moods. In menopausal women, it supports healthy moods and reduces cardiovascular risk.

But before you go out and partake of this wonderful food it is important to remember that the higher the cacao content, such as in dark chocolate, the greater the health benefits. Darker chocolates typically also contain less sugar. And as the saying goes, always read the label and consume responsibly!

Living Valley

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Living Valley Health Retreat is thrilled to celebrate 30 years of promoting and sharing the message of health, healing and wellbeing to over 20,000 people. Our mission, to create a happier, healthier world continues to be the driving force behind what we do as we look to expand our reach and help the greater population.

We are acutely aware of the many people that continue to face physical, mental and emotional struggles whom we haven’t had the opportunity to support and connect with. Therefore, as an initiative to extend our hand to more people in 2020, Living Valley has partnered with Payright to assist individuals who would benefit from receiving the support and care of a genuine health retreat but may not have the finances immediately available to do so.

Payright is an Australian-owned and operated financial service that will allow you to break down payments for your selected retreat program into easier-to-manage weekly, fortnightly, or monthly blocks with no interest over a 9-24 month period. This means that you can get the help, healing and support you need now without breaking the budget or raiding into your savings. Over the past 30 years one of the most common responses we receive from our guests is “I should have invested in coming here a long time ago!” The unfortunate reality is that many of us service our cars more often than we do our own health, yet our health is one of the most crucial things that allows us to do all the meaningful things in life!

So, make the time to invest in the things that really matter in 2020. We look forward to seeing you soon!

For more information about Payright and how to book using this service please contact our reception staff who will be more than happy to guide you through the process.