We already love our coffee breaks, but it’s possible to enjoy them even more. The secret is chocolate, or more specifically, cocoa. This natural compound is loaded with flavonoids, a powerful group of antioxidants known as polyphenols, which help protect against aging and disease caused by free radicals. Cocoa also contains phenethylamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain that works as a mood elevator and natural antidepressant. That’s why we crave it, of course: Chocolate makes us feel amazing.
Thankfully, there’s a growing body of research to substantiate these many health claims, including one involving 2,013 Australians. This particular study, conducted at Melbourne’s Monash University, showed that daily consumption of 3.5 oz of chocolate with a 70% or higher cocoa content significantly reduced participants’ risk of heart attack and stroke.
To enjoy these health-boosting compounds, try a bit of cacao powder in your next cup of coffee for a great mocha taste. Be sure to choose raw cocoa powder over the processed, low-grade varieties that often come with added sugar.
Instead of adding cacao powder directly to your coffee, try adding it to your coffee grinds before brewing. Doing it this way produces a more thoroughly infused cup of joe without a powdery texture. Here’s a brand (shown below) of cocoa we love because it’s organic and fair-trade, plus they sell an unsweetened cocoa powder that mixes in easily.