Well here we are in April already, the nights are getting lighter, which means we might finally get a break from the chilly weather!
Speaking of breaks, Easter weekend is here 🐣 and some of you lucky folks will be enjoying a full bank holiday weekend. And what better way to celebrate than with Easter eggs! Did you know that a little bit of dark chocolate a day could be good for your brain function, your heart, and even alleviate stress and lower the risk of diabetes? I can almost hear the stampede to get a dark chocolate Easter egg right now! 😂😂
Dark chocolate is definitely my guilty pleasure (among a few other things). Research shows that it’s rich in antioxidants, packed with nutrients and phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and may play a role in cancer prevention and heart health.
And let’s not forget about the cacao plant 🌱, where chocolate comes from. It contains a compound called theobromine, which may help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
Cacao is packed with more antioxidants than red wine 🍷 (another guilty pleasure of mine) and green tea combined! The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants you get. However, I personally find anything over 90% a little too bitter. So, 70% and above is far more enjoyable…but just a few squares will do the trick.
The benefits of dark chocolate don’t stop there – it can also help prevent memory loss and boost your mood. That’s because chocolate stimulates neural activity in areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure, which can improve your mood and reduce stress.
Believe it or not, dark chocolate can even reduce the risk of developing diabetes. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but dark chocolate that’s rich in cacao can actually improve how the body metabolizes glucose. Resistance to insulin causes high blood glucose or sugar, which is a contributing factor to type 2 diabetes.
One of my favourite benefits of dark chocolate is that it’s good for your gut and can even assist with weight loss. Research shows that by eating a little bit of dark chocolate after a meal, you can trigger hormones that send a message to your brain that you’re full. Plus, dark chocolate behaves like a prebiotic (fertilizer for your field), which helps grow beneficial bacteria in your gut. The more good microbes in your gut, the better your body can absorb nutrients, leading to a healthy immune system and metabolism.
Now, before you start binging on dark chocolate, keep in mind that it does have a lot of fat and calories. So, be sure to check those ingredients!
Enjoy your Easter eggs and have a cracking time! Speaking of cracking, I just got back from running a retreat in the Lake District that included breathwork, cold water swimming, sound healing, shamanic journeying, cacao ceremony, and lots of other amazing restorative work – not to mention amazing home-cooked food! I’ll be running another retreat later in the year, so stay tuned.
I’m also off to Ibiza for the next retreat I’m running in May, so make sure to book your appointments in advance. I’ll be taking full advantage of the trip to top up my vitamin D and have a few days off while I’m there.
My next sound bath with breathwork and guided meditation at the Lowry Hotel will be on Thursday, April 20th, and there are a few spaces left. For those near me, Yoga Tree Studio at Glebe Farm, Astbury, will have a session on Sunday, April 30th.
Take care and catch you on the flip side!