Nourishing Your Skin from the Inside Out

Nourishing Your Skin from the Inside Out

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Nourishing Your Skin from the Inside Out

Our skin, the largest organ of the body, serves as a protective barrier against environmental hazards, helps regulate temperature, and provides sensory information. While topical treatments can play a role in maintaining skin health, the adage “you are what you eat” holds significant truth. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the health and appearance of our skin, influencing factors such as hydration, elasticity, and the rate of aging. Understanding the relationship between diet and skin health can help us make informed choices that promote a radiant complexion from the inside out.

The Role of Nutrients in Skin Health

Vitamins and Antioxidants

  • Vitamin C: Essential for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that keeps the skin firm and supple. Vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting the skin from damage caused by free radicals and UV exposure. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and leafy greens are excellent sources.
  • Vitamin E: Another potent antioxidant, Vitamin E helps protect skin cells from oxidative damage. It is found in nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin A: Vital for skin cell production and repair, Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy, vibrant complexion. Beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, is abundant in carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.
  • Vitamin D: Produced in the skin in response to sunlight, Vitamin D is crucial for skin cell growth and repair. It also supports the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging.


  • Zinc: Plays a crucial role in skin healing and reducing inflammation. It can help treat acne and is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Selenium: This mineral helps protect the skin from oxidative damage and can be found in Brazil nuts, eggs, and seafood.

Healthy Fats

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fats help maintain the skin’s lipid barrier, which keeps the skin hydrated and plump. Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with conditions like acne and psoriasis. Rich sources include fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids: While essential for skin health, an imbalance (especially with an excess of Omega-6 compared to Omega-3) can promote inflammation. These are found in vegetable oils and processed foods, so balance is key.

Proteins and Amino Acids

  • Collagen and Elastin: Proteins that provide structure and elasticity to the skin. Consuming high-quality protein sources like lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes supports the body’s natural production of these proteins.


  • Hydration is critical for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and appearance. Drinking adequate water helps flush toxins from the body and keeps the skin moisturized from within.

Foods for Glowing Skin

  • Berries: Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, berries help fight oxidative stress and promote a clear complexion.
  • Avocados: Rich in healthy fats, vitamins E and C, avocados are excellent for moisturizing and protecting the skin.
  • Nuts and Seeds: These are great sources of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that support skin health.
  • Green Tea: Contains catechins, which are antioxidants that can improve the skin’s hydration, elasticity, and overall health.
  • Dark Chocolate: High in antioxidants known as flavonoids, dark chocolate can protect the skin from sun damage and improve blood flow.

Foods to Avoid

  • Sugary Foods and Beverages: High sugar intake can lead to glycation, a process where sugar molecules attach to proteins and fats, causing the skin to age prematurely.
  • Processed Foods: Often high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and additives that can trigger inflammation and exacerbate skin issues like acne and eczema.
  • Dairy: Some studies suggest a link between dairy consumption and acne, likely due to hormones present in milk products.
  • Lifestyle Factors
    In addition to diet, other lifestyle factors play a significant role in skin health:


  • Regular physical activity increases blood flow, helping to nourish skin cells and keep them healthy.


  • Adequate sleep allows the skin to repair and regenerate, reducing signs of aging and stress.

Stress Management

  • Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect the skin. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can help manage stress levels.


Achieving and maintaining healthy skin involves a holistic approach that includes proper nutrition, hydration, and a balanced lifestyle. By incorporating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and avoiding those that can harm the skin, you can promote a glowing, healthy complexion from the inside out. Remember, the journey to healthy skin starts on your plate, so choose wisely and nourish your skin with the nutrients it needs to thrive.



Eat Your Sunblock?

Eat Your Sunblock?

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Eat Your Sunblock?

While sunscreen lotions and creams are the most commonly recommended form of sun protection, emerging research suggests that certain nutrients and dietary choices can also offer a degree of natural sun protection. By incorporating these nutrients into your diet, you can enhance your skin’s ability to fend off UV damage, reduce the risk of sunburn, and promote overall skin health. This article explores the key nutrients and nutrition that can be used as an internal sunblock.

Key Nutrients for Natural Sun Protection


  • Beta-Carotene: Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and helps protect the skin from UV damage by acting as a natural antioxidant.
  • Lycopene: This carotenoid gives tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit their red color and has been shown to provide protection against sunburn and reduce the risk of skin damage from UV exposure.

Vitamin C

  • A powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals generated by UV radiation. Vitamin C also aids in collagen synthesis, which can help repair sun-damaged skin. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli are excellent sources.

Vitamin E

  • Another strong antioxidant, vitamin E helps protect skin cells from oxidative damage caused by sun exposure. It also works synergistically with vitamin C to enhance sun protection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, spinach, and avocados.


  • Green Tea: Rich in polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), green tea has been shown to reduce inflammation and protect skin cells from UV-induced damage.
  • Flavonoids: Found in foods like berries, apples, and onions, flavonoids have antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • These essential fatty acids, found in fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the skin’s reaction to UV exposure and lower the risk of sunburn.


  • A potent antioxidant found in marine organisms such as algae, salmon, and shrimp, astaxanthin has been shown to provide significant protection against UV damage and improve skin elasticity and hydration.


  • This trace mineral helps protect the skin from oxidative damage and is essential for maintaining skin health. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, seafood, and whole grains.

Foods That Enhance Natural Sun Protection

  • Tomatoes: Rich in lycopene, tomatoes can improve the skin’s natural defense against UV rays. Cooked tomatoes, such as in sauces, are particularly effective as the cooking process increases lycopene availability.
  • Carrots and Sweet Potatoes: High in beta-carotene, these vegetables help protect the skin from sunburn and improve skin health.
  • Citrus Fruits: Packed with vitamin C, citrus fruits aid in collagen synthesis and provide antioxidant protection against UV damage.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are excellent sources of beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which help protect the skin from sun damage.
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and protect the skin from UV-induced damage.
  • Green Tea: Regular consumption of green tea can enhance the skin’s resistance to UV damage due to its high polyphenol content.
  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are rich in antioxidants that help protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by sun exposure.

Lifestyle Tips for Enhanced Sun Protection

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water keeps the skin hydrated, helping maintain its natural barrier and resilience against UV damage.
  • Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins provides a variety of nutrients that support overall skin health and natural sun protection.
  • Moderate Sun Exposure: While some sun exposure is necessary for vitamin D synthesis, it’s essential to avoid prolonged exposure during peak UV radiation hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


While dietary choices and nutrients alone cannot replace the effectiveness of topical sunscreens, they can complement your sun protection strategy. By incorporating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats, you can bolster your skin’s natural defenses against UV damage and promote overall skin health. Embrace a holistic approach to sun protection that combines smart nutrition, proper hydration, and safe sun practices for optimal skin health and longevity.

Unraveling the Relationship Between Glutamates and Amines in Oppositional Defiant Behavior (ODD)

Unraveling the Relationship Between Glutamates and Amines in Oppositional Defiant Behavior (ODD)

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Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a challenging behavioral condition characterized by a recurrent pattern of defiance, hostility, and disobedience towards their teachers, parents and authority figures. While the precise causes of ODD remain elusive, emerging research suggests a potential link between neurotransmitter imbalances, particularly involving glutamates and amines, and the manifestation of oppositional defiant behaviors. These are found in many common foods.

Most parents have never noticed an effect of food. A few children ‘go ballistic’ soon after eating food colours but for most families, the effects of food chemicals creep up, unnoticed. What most people see is this:

  • Food chemicals can build up gradually, resulting in good days and bad days with no obvious cause
  • When a child eats fast food or spaghetti, he or she might be irritable or have a bad day at school the next day or the day after.
  • Not everyone reacts to the same food chemicals.
  • Some natural “healthy” foods can be a problem.
  • Some families are more sensitive than others.

Understanding Glutamates and Amines:

Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, playing a pivotal role in various cognitive functions, including learning, memory, and emotional regulation. On the other hand, amines, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, are neurotransmitters known for their roles in mood regulation, reward processing, and impulse control.

The Neurochemical Imbalance Hypothesis:

Recent studies have proposed the neurochemical imbalance hypothesis, suggesting that disruptions in glutamate and amine signaling pathways may contribute to the development and persistence of oppositional defiant behaviors. Dysregulation of glutamatergic transmission has been implicated in impulsive aggression and emotional dysregulation, which are hallmark features of ODD.

Furthermore, alterations in amine neurotransmitter systems, particularly serotonin and dopamine, have been associated with deficits in inhibitory control, emotional instability, and reward processing abnormalities—all of which are commonly observed in individuals with ODD.

The Role of Glutamates in ODD:

Glutamate dysregulation has been linked to various psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and impulse control disorders. In the context of ODD, aberrant glutamatergic neurotransmission may disrupt the balance between excitatory and inhibitory signaling pathways, leading to heightened reactivity to perceived threats, reduced impulse control, and impaired emotional regulation.

Moreover, alterations in glutamate receptor expression and function, particularly within brain regions implicated in emotional processing and impulse control, may underlie the persistent defiance and aggression observed in individuals with ODD.

Glutamate can also cause other health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches, obesity, diabetes, fertility problems and even cancer.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid and is a common food additive. MSG is made from fermented starch or sugar and is used to enhance the flavor of savory sauces, salad dressings, and soups.

Both natural glutamate and monosodium glutamate are metabolized in the body using the same processes. Even though glutamate exists naturally in the body and in healthy foods, if a child has ODD this will need to be explored further and avoiding foods that could exacerbate or trigger ODD type behaviors.

Foods highest in glutatame include the following:

Cheese You will find the highest levels of glutamate in parmesan and Roquefort cheeses. 

Asian Sauces Soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce all have very high levels of glutamate. Soy is naturally high in glutamate, and soy-based sauces will have concentrated levels of the compound. 

Nuts Walnuts, cashews and peanuts contain high amounts of glutamate compared to other nuts

Processed Meats Cured ham, either canned, frozen, or at the deli counter, should be avoided if you are worried about glutamate. 

Tomatoes Fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato soup, and tomato-based dishes as well. 

Grape Juice Grape juice contains moderate levels of glutamate. 

Seafood Some fish, like anchovies, have moderate amounts of glutamate and scallops and oysters also contain glutamate.

Mushrooms Dried shiitake mushrooms are very high in glutamate and white button mushrooms contain much less, but those trying to eliminate glutamate from their diets should skip the mushrooms altogether.

Peas Compared to most other vegetables, peas contain more glutamate. If you must indulge, keep your portion size small to avoid overconsumption of glutamate.

Starchy Vegetables Corn and potatoes contain relatively low amounts of glutamate, but may be problematic for some people. 

Processed foods such as Pringles, Chinese foods, instant noodles and canned soups. So check the labels when purchasing

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame is high in glutamate


The Influence of Amines on ODD:

Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine play crucial roles in modulating mood, behavior, and cognitive functions. Dysregulation of these amine neurotransmitter systems has been implicated in various psychiatric disorders characterized by impulsive and aggressive behaviors, including ODD.

Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, regulates mood, impulsivity, and aggression. Reduced serotonin levels or dysfunction in serotonin receptors have been associated with increased aggression and irritability, traits commonly observed in individuals with ODD.

Dopamine, known for its role in reward processing and motivation, has also been implicated in ODD. Dysregulated dopamine signaling may contribute to deficits in reward processing, leading individuals with ODD to seek gratification through oppositional and defiant behaviors.

Norepinephrine, regulates arousal, attention, and stress responses. Dysregulation of norepinephrine levels or signaling pathways may exacerbate emotional dysregulation and impulsive aggression in individuals with ODD.

Foods high in amines include: aged cheeses (e.g., cheddar, parmesan), processed or cured meats (e.g., salami, pepperoni), soy sauce, tomato-based products (e.g., tomato sauce, ketchup), spinach, avocado, eggplant, canned or smoked fish (e.g., tuna, mackerel), fermented foods (e.g., sauerkraut, kimchi), yeast extract (e.g., Marmite, Vegemite), vinegar and vinegar-containing foods (e.g., pickles), chocolate, strawberries, pineapples and certain nuts (e.g., walnuts, peanuts)

What’s more, browning, grilling, charring and overcooking food can also increase amine levels

Implications for Treatment and Future Directions:

Understanding the neurochemical underpinnings of ODD, particularly involving glutamates and amines, holds promise for the development of targeted interventions. 

In conclusion, the interplay between glutamates and amines in the pathophysiology of oppositional defiant behavior represents a complex yet promising avenue for research and therapeutic development. By unraveling the neurochemical underpinnings of ODD, we may pave the way for more effective interventions and improved outcomes for individuals affected by this challenging disorder.

The SAG diet has been developed to address Oppositional Defiant behavior and this includes a combination of low salicylates, amines and glutamates. For more information on this please check out this article.

For more information on nutrition strategies to help manage  your child’s aggressive behavior check out our other article on 4 nutrition strategies to manage Oppositional Defiant Behavior.

If you would like to book a consult with one of her clinicians with training in SAG diet and ODD please click here.




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As the name implies, these diets remove salicylates, amines and glutamates for the die . It is common for people with compromised biochemistry function (particularly a detoxification pathway called sulfation) to have food intolerances to salicylates, amines and glutamates. Conditions associated with poor sulfation include ADHD, autism, microbiome imbalance, or autoimmune conditions such as lupus. As the name implies, this diet remove salicylates, amines and glutamates for the diet.

BioIndividual Nutrition Institute created the Low Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate (Low SAG) Diet based an amalgamation of multiple diets, research, and clinical experience. These diets remove the natural food chemicals that overwhelm certain people’s systems and cause symptoms.


A low SAG diet may assist children that have Autism that experience these common symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Red cheeks and ears
  • Irritability
  • Defiant behavior
  • Self injury
  • Aggression
  • Sleeping issues – night waking or terrors
  • Skin rashes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Cries easily
  • Bedwetting
  • Urinary urge/ incontinence
  • Other indications for this diet include cravings for high salicylate, amine, or glutamate foods, or reactions to these foods

Poor sulfation causes difficulties metabolizing and detoxifying these natural food chemicals and can result in a variety of physical, neurological and behavioral symptoms. This diet removes/minimizes foods that are most difficult for a person with these biochemical imbalances to process. It reduces the burden on the body and decreases, and often eliminates, symptoms.

When nutrients are replenished and other contributors like microbiome are balanced, the food tolerances often improve. Working with a practitioner can help address supplementation and lifestyle factors.


To implement a low SAG diet, certain foods are eliminated (or limited), typically short term for 3-6 weeks, then tested back. During the elimination phase, observe and record any change or improvement in symptoms, until ready to start testing back foods, by category, to determine tolerance or intolerance.

Testing back phases can vary. Some strategies add multiple servings of very high foods per day for one week, adding large amounts to make a reaction more obvious. Others use a more subtle approach, as they are highly sensitive and/or suspect these food intolerances, and are attempting to determine personal threshold. Even if quite restrictive at the start, it is not intended to stay that way, unless someone is truly sensitive. The objective is to re-introduce as many foods as possible back to ensure a balanced and healthy diet. Work with a nutrition practitioner for help.

If you want to explore implementing this diet with you child please give us a call we would love to help in the meantime if you want a SAG meal option check out our Cashew Butter Pancakes or our Banana Coconut Ice Cream

At Koru the best clinicians to book an appointment to explore implementing the SAG diet would be Thera Ip and Kylie James (both have experience in working with children on the spectrum).

Kylie James is a registered OT and a certified nutritionist as well as completed her Individual nutrition training in the states. Thera Ip is not only a nutritionist but also is a homeopath which provides a gentle motality that can help kids on the spectrum. Thera also has a child on the spectrum.

To book with one of them please go to our online booking page.

How to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Migraines

How to Prevent, Reduce and Manage Migraines

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Migraines affect millions worldwide, disrupting daily life with throbbing headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. While medications can help manage symptoms, nutrition and supplements offer a complementary approach to alleviate migraines and possibly reduce their frequency and intensity. Understanding the role of certain nutrients and supplements can empower individuals to adopt holistic strategies for managing this debilitating condition.

Nutrition Recommendations:

  1. Hydration: According to the American Migraine Foundation, about a third of people with migraine report dehydration as a migraine trigger. Optimal hydration, achieved through regular water intake, can help prevent headaches. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day and increase intake during hot weather or intense physical activity.
  2. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides essential nutrients that support overall health, including brain function.
  3. Some specific diets that have shown promise in managing migraines include the anti-inflammatory diet, the Mediterranean diet, or the low histamine diet. The National Headache Foundation also suggests trying a low-tyramine diet. It may not be for everyone, but research shows that a keto diet may help reduce migraine attacks compared with a standard diet. This means eating foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in fat, like seafood, non-starchy vegetables, and eggs. For more information on any of these diets please reach out to us at Koru we are happy to help you minimize your migraines.
  4. Balance blood sugars: Avoid skipping meals, as irregular eating patterns can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals. Food cravings and hunger may be the real root of the trigger. When people have food cravings due to low blood sugar, by the time they eat something, it’s often too late — a migraine attack may already be coming.
  5. Identify Food allergies and sensitivities: Foods that you may be sensitive to can trigger headaches and migraines and should be avoided. This can subtle and sometimes hard to detect so the best way to see if this is an issue for you is to complete the food elimination diet or complete food allergy testing with your health practitioner. If you would like to get this tested please reach out to us and we can book you in with one of our naturopath doctors.
  6. Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraines. Incorporate magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, avocado, and legumes into your diet. Alternatively, consider magnesium supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Ideally magnesium threonate as this crosses the blood brain barrier. Designs for Health has Neuromag which we have seen great results with managing migraines and headaches. To get this supplement please go to our online dispensary.
  7. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Studies suggest that riboflavin supplementation may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Good food sources include dairy products, eggs, lean meats, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
  8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate migraines. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet regularly.
  9. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10, a compound involved in energy production within cells, has shown promise in reducing migraine frequency and severity. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage.
  10. Feverfew: Feverfew, an herb belonging to the daisy family, has been used traditionally to prevent migraines. Some studies suggest that feverfew supplements may reduce migraine frequency, although more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
  11. Melatonin: Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, may help prevent migraines, particularly in individuals with sleep disorders. Speak to a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and timing for melatonin supplementation.
  12. Vitamin D: Some research suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency and migraines. While more studies are needed to establish a definitive connection, maintaining adequate vitamin D levels through supplementation or sensible sun exposure may be beneficial for overall health.
  13. Lavendar essential oil: A 2016 randomized controlled study found evidence that 3 months of lavender therapy as a prophylactic therapy, meaning taken before a migraine attack begins, reduced frequency and severity of migraine attacks. However, research is still limited.To purchase any of these supplements please go to our online dispensary.

Conclusion: While nutrition and supplements can complement conventional migraine treatments, it’s essential to approach their use with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Individual responses to dietary changes and supplements vary, and what works for one person may not be effective for another. Additionally, addressing lifestyle factors such as stress management, adequate sleep, and regular exercise is crucial for comprehensive migraine management. By adopting a holistic approach that incorporates nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle modifications, individuals can take proactive steps towards managing migraines and improving their overall quality of life.

The Sweet Science: Unwrapping the Health Benefits of Chocolate

The Sweet Science: Unwrapping the Health Benefits of Chocolate

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Chocolate, often considered a delectable treat and indulgence, has been enjoyed for centuries. Beyond its irresistible taste, numerous studies suggest that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, comes with a host of health benefits that may surprise many. While moderation is key, let’s unwrap the goodness within and explore the various ways chocolate can contribute to our well-being.

Dark chocolate contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is a good source of essential minerals such as magnesium, copper, and iron. Magnesium is crucial for muscle and nerve function, copper supports the formation of red blood cells, and iron is essential for oxygen transport in the body needed for energy. Including chocolate in a balanced diet can contribute to meeting the body’s mineral requirements.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa contains

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 66% of the DV for iron
  • 57% of the DV for magnesium
  • 196% of the DV for copper
  • 85% of the DV for manganese
  • In addition, it has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.

Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily but this does give you some idea of what nutrients go into these dark delectables. 

1. Rich in Antioxidants:

Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is a potent source of antioxidants. These compounds help combat oxidative stress in the body, neutralizing free radicals and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The presence of flavonoids in cocoa, a key component of chocolate, has been linked to improved heart health and a reduced risk of cardiovascular issues. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate had more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than any other fruits tested, which included blueberries and acai berries (1)

2. Heart Health:

Several studies have shown that moderate consumption of dark chocolate may contribute to heart health. Dark chocolate has been associated with improvements in blood flow, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced cholesterol levels. (2) Flavonoids in chocolate are believed to have a positive impact on endothelial function, promoting healthy blood vessels and reducing the risk of heart disease. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others. According to research, the polyphenols in dark chocolate may help lower some forms of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol when combined with other foods like almonds and cocoa, which makes sense as who doesn’t love dark chocolate covered almonds. (3) 

A review of studies revealed that eating chocolate 3 times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 9%. (4) 

3. Mood Enhancement:

Chocolate contains various compounds that stimulate the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones in the brain. Additionally, chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, which can provide a mild energy boost and enhance alertness. Phenylethylamine, another compound found in chocolate, is believed to mimic the mood-enhancing effects of endorphins and may contribute to an improved sense of love and well being. In one large study of 13,000 people, those who ate dark chocolate in the previous 24 hours were 70% less likely to report depression. And it didn’t take much, just 12 grams of dark chocolate was enough to elicit this effect. That’s just 2 or 3 of these treats! (5) 

4. Brain Function:

Cocoa, a primary ingredient in chocolate, contains flavonoids that may have neuroprotective effects. Research suggests that regular consumption of chocolate may improve cognitive function and protect against age-related decline. (6)  Cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why it can improve brain function including enhanced memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.  (7) Studies show that eating high flavanol cocoa can improve blood flow to the brain in young adults. This may explain why eating cocoa daily appears to improve attention, verbal learning, and memory. (8) 

5. Stress Reduction:

Consuming chocolate may have stress-relieving effects. The combination of compounds like serotonin precursors, theobromine, and magnesium can contribute to relaxation and reduced stress levels. While chocolate is not a cure for stress, it can be a delightful and comforting treat that provides a momentary sense of relaxation.

Want a nice chocolate treat? 

You can just consume a coupe of pieces of dark chocolate 75% or more each day, grate it on your yogurt or oatmeal, or include it in your trail mix. But for some more options check out our chocolate almond butter cup or chocolate coffee shake recipes.  

While it’s important to consume chocolate in moderation, the health benefits associated with its consumption, especially dark chocolate, are increasingly supported by scientific research. From heart health to mood enhancement and cognitive function, chocolate contains a rich blend of compounds that can contribute positively to our overall well-being. So, the next time you savor a piece of chocolate, know that you may be indulging in more than just a delightful treat – you’re unwrapping a host of potential health benefits.