How we choose to nourish our bodies has a huge impact on how we feel.
Some foods can leave us feeling depleted of energy, such as processed sugars, grains and wheat. While others can leave us feeling strong and energised, such as wholefoods containing powerful nutrients – some of which may even support anxiety and low mood (depression).
If you are experiencing either anxiety or low mood, or know someone who is, you’ll be delighted to hear, that dark chocolate, originally derived from cacao (yes, we said chocolate – the darker the better!), actually contains an amino acids that is essential for making serotonin - known as your ‘happy hormones’. This particular amino acid is called tryptophan.
Dopamine, our motivator molecule is also often released with chocolate consumption. However, on the flip side, people who have elevated dopamine already may find that consuming chocolate may actually make them more aggressive, which highlights the need for individualised nutrition.
Cacao is also a great source of magnesium and a natural antioxidant. Magnesium is particularly good for improving mood, as it too, is an essential component in making serotonin and dopamine. Antioxidants are essential for those struggling with anxiety or low mood, as they help to combat biochemical changes that occur when the body is experiencing stress.
There is another chemical in the brain called anandamide, which is also found in cacao and is known for temporarily blocking pain receptors, which may help to minimise feelings of low mood or depression.
To support those who might be struggling with anxiety or low mood, our Holistic Health Consultant, Taylor, created this Bliss Ball recipe using raw cacao, to nourish your body with the essential nutrients mentioned above.
However, like all sweet treats, these bliss balls are best enjoyed in moderation. While naturally sweetened it's important to know how much sugar you should be consuming to feel your best, particularly if you experience struggles with anxiety and low mood, as sugar can be one of the sneaky drivers behind your mental wellness. We will be covering more on this in the coming weeks.
Quick Chocolate Tip:
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to chocolate, whatever percentage cacao is it, think of the remainder is sugar. So for example, if it is 33% cacao, 67% is sugar! We like to go for 80% of higher dark chocolate, avoiding milk chocolate altogether!
Makes 14 balls | GF, DF
- 4 Tbsp cacao or cocoa (cacao is just unroasted cocoa – so it contains more antioxidants)
- 4 Tbsp peanut butter
- 3/4 cups dried fruit eg. Sultanas, apricots, dates, figs etc
- 1/2 cup nuts and seeds eg. Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts etc
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp raw honey or 100% real maple syrup
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- Place all ingredients except the honey/maple syrup in a food processor and blend until it forms clumps (add more coconut oil if the mixture is too dry).
- Continue blending and slowly pour in the honey/maple syrup. The mixture will be slightly sticky.
- Roll into snack sized balls and refrigerate.
- The bliss balls are ready to eat straight away, but will firm up more in the fridge.
If you have a go, let us know! We love seeing your BePure recipes. Tag us in your pictures @bepurebenwarren for your chance to be featured on our Instagram account.