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Want to be healthier? Consider Chocolate.

Chocolate is known to have antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory properties, prevent blood clots, protect nerve cells, reduce insulin resistance, regulate genes that control body weight and inhibit cancer growth. Suffice to say, it's not only insanely delicious, it's also super powerful.

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the Theobroma Cacao tree, finely ground then fermented and roasted. The ground cacao is made from cacao butter along with ground particles of the seed itself, which contains a potent combination of phytochemicals that can have medicinal properties.

The main phytochemicals in cacao are flavanols and proanthocyanins, along with methylxanthines such as theobromine. These compounds are said to be responsible for most of the therapeutic effects of chocolate.

WelleCo NOURISHING PROTEIN Peruvian Chocolate is formulated using certified organic cacao powder as well as super-powerful nutrients like digestive enzymes for a boosted metabolism, pre and probiotics, B vitamins for energy, dandelion for liver health and acai and pomegranate for fighting the ageing process.

Chocolate’s antioxidants, working together to help reduce inflammation, can reduce your risk of certain inflammation-related diseases such as heart disease. Its flavonoids are known to work especially well to keep endothelial cells healthy – these are the cells that line your arteries. Studies have revealed that dark chocolate’s antioxidant quantity even surpasses that of blueberries and cherries.

Most of us are also familiar with the small ‘high’ or feeling of contentment that can come from eating chocolate – this is thanks to its stimulation of hormones including serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone.

And when it comes to brain health, chocolate’s benefits don’t stop at boosting your mood – it can also improve your memory and cognitive functions. This is due to the flavanols within chocolate being absorbed and penetrating the regions of the brain involved in learning and memory, such as the hippocampus. The flavanols then increase blood flow to the brain which improves the functions of neurons, enhances neuron connections and protects the neurons from free radical damage.

There’s a trick to it, though – chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa has the greatest benefits. This makes dark chocolate the most beneficial, with chocolate containing 70% or more cocoa thought to have the greatest health benefits. Chocolate that contains very little cocoa has much fewer therapeutic benefits.

As a general rule, the higher percentage of cacao a chocolate bar has, the lower its sugar content will be. Health experts recommend 85% cacao content as ideal however it brings a bitter taste as it’s low in sugar, so many people opt for 70% as the sweet spot for balancing flavour with health benefits.

And as with anything, moderation is key – if you’re cracking into the chocolate too often, its benefits will soon be offset by the impacts of over-consumption of your body’s caloric requirements. It is possible to have too much of a good thing! But when consumed moderately as part of a balanced diet, the benefits are undeniable. We’ll toast our Peruvian Chocolate smoothies to that.