Stress is a byproduct of life as we know it and the statistics show that it can really wear us down. One in five Americans claim to experience ‘extreme cases of stress’. Research also shows that we are, as a nation, much more anxious than we were even five years ago!
It’s no surprise that we are always trying to find new ways to relieve that knotted up feeling in our chest. Some folks have found that taking a large bite out of some quality chocolate can do the trick. Why does chocolate relieve stress so well? Let’s find out!
A Brain Chemical Balancer
When eaten in moderation, studies show that chocolate can be used as a booster for certain sorts of chemicals in the brain. Scientists have found that your serotonin and endorphin levels will rise after consuming a chocolate filled sweet treat. These chemicals are integral in making you feel calm, content and relaxed. Following that train of thought we also see that dark chocolate has a way of attacking the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. In fact, studies show that eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate a day can lead to a dramatic reduction in the aforementioned hormone. One of the most famous chocolate related studies involved subjects answering difficult questions in front of a live audience. The subjects that were eating dark chocolate were found to have less cortisol in their system afterward and, accordingly, performed better on the test. Not a bad way to reign in your worries, right?
Relief for Your Heart
Of course we can expect more than just feeling good to come out of eating some quality dark chocolate. When we think of stress we tend to think of the issues that it causes us in the short term. We remember the rapidly beating heart, the shortness of breath and the feeling that everything is going to come crashing down around us. What we don’t look at is the long-term consequences to this panicked way of thinking. For many people that live stress filled lives there is an increased risk of blood pressure and heart related issues. While chocolate won’t cure these problems, there are studies that show the way it can help relax them and it has to do with something called a ‘flavanol’.
Chocolate comes from the cacao plant, which is a vegetable. The cacao plant is filled to the brim with flavanols. A flavanol is a type of antioxidant that attacks these things called ‘free radicals’ that float around in your body and sort of drag you down. You ingest free radicals through environmental contaminants, junk food, drugs, and are a byproduct of your own body at work. Flavanols repair the damage that these free radicals cause and simultaneously reduce their long-term health effects.
So now that we know how beneficial chocolate is we can just indulge on whatever we want, right? Well, not exactly. The most efficient way for you to feel the positive effects of chocolate as a stress reducer and body booster is to eat it as unprocessed as possible. The more times that the chocolate is altered, the more flavanols you will lose. Destress and reach for some decadently luscious, all natural, dark chocolate from Asher’s today!