chocolate health benefits
18.10.2022
Wellness

5 Proven Health Benefits of Chocolate


In case you needed another reason to fit more chocolaty goodness into your day, we are here to share some incredible health benefits of chocolate! The list of amazing health benefits is long and impressive, so we’ve picked the top 5 benefits for physical health, mental health, and healing our relationship with food.

It is important to note some kinds of chocolate have health benefits, but not all. The details matter! At Shanti-Som Wellbeing Retreat, we’re all about a healthy happy lifestyle, which definitely includes dessert in our lives! We simply need to have the knowledge and understanding of how to make better food choices. Our Wellness Team takes a closer look at the properties behind cocao and our favourite sweet craving – chocolate. We’ve also included 2 of our favourite recipes that are so easy and fast to make. Perfect for when you need that after meal satisfaction, but looking for a healthier option.

What is Chocolate, Cocao and Cacoa

Chocolate comes from the tropical cacao tree. The cacao bean, the rawest form of chocolate, can be harvested and consumed directly (cacao), roasted and turned into powder (cocoa) or made into chocolate.

Raw cacao is a bona fide superfood, complete with powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants, and unique plant-based compounds that are found in only a handful of other foods on the planet. Now raw cacao may not be that sweet treat you are craving, but it is the precursor to chocolate! Whilst chocolate does offer some of the superfood health benefits of cacao, it’s important to know that not all “chocolate,” “cocoa,” and “cacao” products are equal.  If you want to maximize the cacao benefits for your body, you’ve got to know what to look for.

Often, the terms “cocoa” and “cacao” are used interchangeably and inconsistently, so it’s important to read the labels and inform yourself of what’s really used in any products that you plan to buy. Generally, the term “cocoa” refers to a product that’s more processed and has been heated, whereas “cacao” describes products that are less processed and raw.

Roasting reduces bitterness and enhances sweetness in the beans, which gives products like cocoa powder, hot cocoa, or chocolates the sweeter, chocolatier flavor that we know and love (often, along with some added sugar!) But, the heat of roasting also destroys phytonutrients and antioxidants, meaning cocoa products don’t offer the same level of raw cacao benefits because the nutrient content is lower.

This is why raw cacao powder and cacao nibs are typically considered the healthier, more nutritious options.

Are there Health Benefits to Chocolate?

Dark chocolate contains between 50-90% cocoa solids, whereas milk has between 10-50%. Recent research has shown that cocoa and dark chocolate may have cardiovascular benefits and may help prevent age-related cognitive decline, improving attention, brain processing speed and working memory.

Here are 5 key health benefits of dark chocolate:

  1. Rich in Flavanols- The higher the cocoa solids, the more flavonoids and the lower sugar. Flavanols have huge health benefits for your heart as it relaxes your blood vessels and improves blood flow. This protects against heart disease and cognition as you have more blood flow to the brain.
  2. Important source of minerals- Dark chocolate is packed with iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. These are used to support immunity, keep bones and teeth healthy and contribute to better sleep.
  3. Makes you feel good- Dark chocolate has been associated with feelings of pleasure and enjoyment. This feeling originates from antioxidants that lower cortisol, a stress hormone.
  4. Cognitive function- Scientists at Harvard Medical School have suggested that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day could help keep the brain healthy and reduce memory decline in older people. The researchers found that hot chocolate helped improve blood flow to parts of the brain where it was needed.
  5. Protects Your Skin from Dehydration -The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help you stay protected under the sun. They increase hydration and skin density by improving the blood flow to the skin. But please, don’t assume you’ll need less water. You still need plenty of it!

How much Chocolate should you eat a day?

We would recommend a serving of between 30 – 60 grams. That’s about three squares of a large chocolate bar. One misconception is that because there are health benefits you can eat as much as you want. However, chocolate is a high calorie food so moderation is still required. It is however the healthier choice if you’re looking for a delicious way to end your meal.

Chocolate Recipes for Health Benefits

Here are 2 of our all time favourite dark chocolate recipes that are ridiculously easy to make and will satisfy your sweet tooth. They are easy to keep so you can make it ahead when those cravings suddenly hit.

Chocolate-Chia-Pudding-Vegan-and-paleo-friendly

Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Servings – 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-5 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup chia seeds

Instructions

  1. To a small mixing bowl add cacao powder (sift first to reduce clumps), maple syrup, ground cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Then add a little almond milk at a time and whisk until a paste forms. Then add remaining almond milk and whisk until smooth.
  2. Add chia seeds and whisk once more to combine. Then cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3-5 hours (until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency). It may also be helpful to give the mixture an extra whisk/stir once it has been in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 4-5 days, though best when fresh. Serve chilled with desired toppings, such as fruit, granola, or coconut whipped cream.

Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Servings – 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 115 grams bittersweet chocolate (or 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup packed coconut sugar or lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fine almond flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit / 120 degrees Celsius
  2. Generously grease 8 wells of a cupcake tin (or an 8-inch round cake pan) with olive oil.
  3. Melt the chocolate- Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt in a microwave-safe bowl on high in 30 second bursts, stirring after each one, until melted. Alternatively, melt over the stove in the top of a double boiler.
  4. Make the batter- In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer to beat the eggs for 1 minute. Add the honey, coconut sugar, olive oil, almond flour, vanilla, salt, and melted chocolate and beat on high for 1 minute.
  5. Bake- Spoon a scant 1/3 cup batter into each well of the cupcake tin and bake just until the tops lose their raw appearance, about 17 to 18 minutes. If using an 8-inch cake pan, figure about 23 minutes to bake.
  6. Cool and serve- Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes. Wedge the mini cakes from the tin and dust lightly with powdered sugar. For the full cake, serve wedges directly out of the pan.
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    Audrey is Shanti-Som's resident Yoga Instructor. To be honest she's a lot more than that to our guests as she guides them on a journey of self discovery and awareness. Audrey believes in a holistic approach to wellness where physical, mental and emotional wellbeing are all connected. She hopes through the practice of Yoga, guests discover the best version of themselves, to live a more peaceful and joyful life, and to find the grace and kindness to be better to others. Audrey's genuine and personable nature sparks a lot of inspiration and motivation in her classes. As she comes up to her 3 year anniversary with Shanti-Som, we would like to say a big thank you to her for helping our guests discover a more happy, calm and confident way of being. 
Audrey loves spending time in nature and when not teaching Yoga she can be found hiking, camping or travelling. 
#meettheteam #hospitality #shantisomwellbeing #shantisom #marbellaretreat #wellnessretreat #yogaretreat #yogalife #yogateacher #holistichealth #wellnessteam #marbslife #grateful #team #marbellalife #hotelhospitalityBeauty is being exactly who you are. Beauty is believing in yourself and remembering that you are worth it. Beauty is being kind to others and also being kind to yourself. Beauty is being able to give and receive love. Beauty is accepting yourself for who you are and standing tall in that truth. 
It begins by simply being yourself 🌼
#mindfulmonday #healing #gratitude #selfcare #inspiration #beauty #selflove #yogaretreat #positivevibes #energyhealing #coaching #personaldevelopment #love #wellnessmarbella #quoteoftheday #wellnessretreatNur will be the one who welcomes you with a big cheerful smile at our Reception. Making our guests feel at home is her love and talent. Nur is a curious and outgoing team member who enjoys meeting guests from all over the world. This taps into her love for travel, exploring new places and cultures. She is passionate about living in the moment, self development and personal growth. Thank you to Nur for her dedication to hospitality and providing a superior guest experience at Shanti-Som. 
#meettheteam #hospitality #shantisomwellbeing #shantisom #marbellaretreat #wellnessteam #wellbeingretreat #grateful #team #retreatspain #marbellalife #travel #hotelhospitalityEvery day is a fresh start. Slow down, let the worries of yesterday go. Today is what matters, and you are in control! 🙌
#mindfulmonday #gratitude #actwithgrace #selfcare #inspiration #tbt #yogaretreat #meditation #positivevibes #peresonaldevelopment #coaching #energyhealing #lifegoals #retreatyourself #wellnessmarbella #marbellalifestyle #quoteoftheday #inspiration #wellnessretreatWelcome to our Yoga Retreat. We encourage you to disconnect from the world and learn to be comfortable ‘just being’ yourself. No social or work pressures as you disappear into a world of movement, relaxation and pampering. Let someone else take care of your meals, schedule and be guided by our Wellness Team. With two Yoga sessions and meditation every day, you will find yourself walking taller, leaner and with more confidence.
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🎥 @a_touch_of_tinksJuan Antonio has been part of our team since 2013 and is at the heart of our Retreat in the Shanti-Som kitchen as Head Chef. His signature dishes have become staple menu items that repeat guests look forward returning to, time after time. After tasting one of Juan Antonio's meals, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the heartiness and complexity of flavours, which is contrary to what people believe is served at a Wellness Retreat. In addition to cooking, he loves cinema and music. 
Thank you Juan Antonio for bringing life and joy to 'healthy eating'. 
What are your favorite dishes on our menu?
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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #meettheteam #chef #cookingishismusicIt’s Monday again and are you moving at a million miles an hour to get everything done? Trying to please everyone? Often our weeks are tiring and to make our weekends exciting we over stretch our commitments. 
Today we ask you to stop. When we over commit, stay in places we don’t want to be or be around people who diminish our energy we create unnecessary negativity. 

Try for this week, just do YOU! Do the things that make YOU happy! 💫

If you struggle with this, what is stopping you from saying ‘no’ to the things you don’t want to do? Leave a comment 👇 
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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingFinally #friyay! 
Have a RELAXED WEEKEND, TAKE CARE of you, get enough ME-TIME and keep in mind that there well be ONE HOUR EXTRA on sunday with time-change for those living in CET! ⏱️

#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #weekend #timechange #relaxOur next member on #teamthursday is someone who acts more likely behind the scene: VALENTINA TUDOSE - most of the people know her as „Tina“. 

She is one of our lovely fairies from the housekeeping team who ensure that our guests find everything in perfect order and cleanliness, so they are able to concentrate entirely on themselves, their process and their relaxation. ✨

Tina says that she loves to be in nature and when she came to Shanti-Som in 2016 for the very first time the first thing she thought: Oh wow, that nature here! After 6 years she is still grateful every day when she comes up to work or looks out of a window that she can work in such a lovely place. 

Thank you Tina for your work! We are so happy to have such a warm-hearted person on our team 🙏🏼

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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #housekeeping #teamwork #naturelover #natureNATURE IS THE PUREST PORTAL 
TO INNER PEACE: ‘SHANTI‘. ✨ 
- Angie Weiland Crosby -

Lucky us, that our small sanctuary is deeply rooted in lush, flourishing nature to make it even easier for you to walk on the path towards your own ‘Shanti‘.

We can’t wait to welcome you here and guide you! 🙏🏼

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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingWe think, that you can count the total amount of rain days here in Andalusia on both of your hands.
BUT if it rains, we see it as natural refill for brand new SHANTI-SOM bottles. 😉💦
On the other 355 days with ☀️ you can refill your bottle at one of several dispenser around our hotel for free. 
And the best thing: when you stay 5 nights or more, you get the bottle for free! 
That is what we call a #sustainablesunday 
- we hope, you have a relaxed one! 🧘🏽

#sustainability #refill #refillyourbottle #wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingOur next team member on #teamthursday is JUAN ARANA TORRES, one of our lovely hosts in the restaurant. 
With a never fading smile, Juan serves at Shanti-Som since 2017 already. If he can not be with his Shanti-Som family and bringing his passion in serving you your favorite dish, he loves to be with his own family most. Especially with his little daughter. 
We appreciate your warm-hearted service for all of our guests, Juan!

#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #teammember #stafflove #appreciationJUST SOUND ON: Get your daily dose of SHANTI here by listening to nature and water for only a couple of seconds. 
💧🌴
And soak in a little bit of Andalusian sun rays… ☀️
Have a lovely day! 💙

 #shanti #getshanti #relax #relaxation #soundon #healingenergy #heamingvibrations #wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingWhat we mean when we talk about our 
„HIDDEN SANCTUARY DEEP IN NATURE“.

When you enter our gate you will immediately feel a glimpse of your „SHANTI“, your INNER PEACE, because the nature around us gives us access to our very own nature. 

Can you feel it? 🌴☀️🌿

What is the most important thing for you to find your SHANTI? ☮️

#innerpeace #shanti #truenature 
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Who can agree? 🌴🧘🏽‍♀️🧖🏼

We want to know what you would like to see here on our IG channel: 
More photos? Videos? Tips? Recipes? Workouts? Just nice holidays vibes? Something else?
Let us know in the comments! 👇🏼

#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingToday is #teamthursday 
- and we would like to start this new series to introduce our lovely family (other call them „staff“ or „ team“ 😉) with our 
GENERAL MANAGER CHRISTINE VESPERMANN. 
Christine is with Shanti-Som since 2011 already - wow! Isn’t this just the best proof of how amazing our little haven must be?
She is the one who is responsible for all processes on-site, taking care of the whole team, getting things done from changing the menu, setting up a new computer system for a better customer experience to ordering new fences. Obviously a „Allround-Talent“. 🙌🏼
When being asked that she loves most, Christine answered: 
Genuine and loyal friends 
- and that is exactly what you feel, when you meet her for the first time: Welcoming everyone as friend and part of the Shanti-Som Family! 💙

#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #teamthursday #intro #teammember #bestteamoftheworld🇪🇸 ¡ Feliz Fiesta Nacional de España ! 🇪🇸
In honor of this special day for Spain we’ve shared 3 amazing hiking routes in beautiful Andalusia in our latest blog article. ⛰️🥾🌳
This amazing sunrise is recorded on top of “La Concha”. Starting point is only 10 min drive away from Shanti-Som, the hike up to this point is in total around 3:15’-3:30’ (one direction and depending on your speed of course).
Have a lovely (holi-)day!

#hikingspain #marbellatourism #fiestanacional #spainlove #andalusia ##wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #laconcha #sunrise #sunrisehikeWe would like to invite YOU to become part of our lovely SHANTI-SOM FAMILY and we are beyond excited to meet YOU. ✨
We know that there a busy times out there in this world so that’s why we have a special winter offer for you:

✨ 15% off ALL RETREATS in NOV & DEC 2022* ✨

We want to support all humans out there on their journey of wellbeing, rejuvenating and restoring. 
Make yourself a gift of taking care of your body and you before heading into winter and Christmas festivities. 

WELCOME TO SHANTI-SOM! 🧘🏽‍♀️🌴🧘🏽

*for online booking please use code CAMP-CHRISTMAS2022 and code only applies for stays more than 3 days

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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeing #specialoffer #winterpromo #promotion #selfcare #welcometothefamily #tribememberHonoring World Mental Health Day by reminding you of … YOU. ✨
It all starts with you. 
Finding peace inside of yourself when everything around you is shaky, challenging or - like we say in spanish - „going loco“ (= crazy) is the most essential thing to support your mental health. 

Connecting to your breath will make it much easier for you to come back to yourself,  to check-in with you and reset and recalibrate for some moments. 
We’ve put some beneficial breathing techniques together for you in our blog. Link in Bio.
Share with us and the other followers what is your secret to support your mental health? 👇🏼✨

#worldmentalhealthday #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #supportyourself #motivation #inspiration #breath #breathing #breathingtechniques #pranayama 
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#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingAre rain, wind, cold and stress already chasing you?
We know a place where you will find peace and your „zen-state-of-mind“ immediately again.
We still have amazing weather here in Andalusia and can‘t wait to welcome you!

#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
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#wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
#marbella #marbs #spainholiday #yogaretreatspain #marbellalifestyle #shantisom #shantisomwellbeingretreatWhenever you choose to practice yoga, remember to honour it as a sacred time for your body and mind. Leave your daily routine and stress, learn to listen to what your body needs that day. Move at your own pace, and develop intuition about what sequences or kinds of yoga poses you want and need to do. 
In a group class this may mean making modifications if your body is feeling tired, or challenging yourself if you are feeling energetic. It’s your time and your practice to be who you need to be 🧘‍♀️ 
#retreatlife #wellnessescapes #placestovisit #holidaydestination #holidayinspiration #andalucia #yogaretreat #yogapractice #gratitude #breath #wellness #connect #mindbodysoul #yogini #yogaflow #wellnessmarbella #marbellawellness #marbellawellbeing #wellbeingmarbella #retreatmarbella #marbellaretreat #retreatspain #wellbeingretreat
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