Dark Chocolate (Cacao) : A Tasty Way To Boost Testosterone & Muscle Mass
During my research I have discovered that the raw nibs of dark, unrefined chocolate (aka Cacao nibs) can have a really positive effect on testosterone production, furthermore they can help boost strength and help promote cardiovascular health too.
I absolutely love my chocolate and probably eat too much of it. My favourites are those little dark chocolate nibs that you can buy from health shops.
They are strong and slightly bitter, but I cannot get enough of them, even more so now that I have realised just how good for you these little lumps of chocolate heaven are.
The ancient Incas used to melt them down and use them in a drink – they called it the ‘drink of the gods!”
This article looks at the health benefits of eating dark chocolate, particularly the unprocessed cacao nibs which are the purest form of chocolate available.
Raw Cacao Nibs : Health Benefits
Any dark chocolate, in particular raw cacao is absolutely packed with essential minerals, vitamins, plant based nutrients and other unique compounds that work to release certain brain chemicals.
These nutrients include:
- Vitamins B1, b2, B3, B5, B9 and E
- Flavanoids (powerful antioxidants)
- Polyphenols (effective micronutrients)
Just 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs provides you with:
- 3 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of good quality protein
- 14 grams of healthy fats (oleic acid which is good for your heart)
- 9 grams of saturated fat which is key to testosterone production.
Cacao And Your Brain Function
Recent studies held in the UK looked at the effect of dark chocolate on test subjects while working on mathematical equations.
The idea was to test the effects of cacao on the users cognitive functions, finding out if the eating of dark chocolate had any effect on the speed and thought processing of the users brains.
The group of test subjects were split into two groups, half were each given a hot chocolate drink made with flavanol rich dark chocolate, and then were given the mathematic valuations to perform.
The other half of the test group were given nothing.
The group who were given the chocolate drink before the test completed the calculations faster and with more accuracy than the group who did not drink the hot chocolate.
The lead research scientist behind the study told us that it was the polyphenols and flavanols in the chocolate that made the difference – “The more foodstuffs that you eat with polyphenols the better your brain function in the long run”
Other scientific tests have backed up this study, stating that cacao helps boost cerebral blood flow, increasing cellular function for up to 3 hours.
Dark Chocolate Boosts Cardio Function
The nutrients in dark cacao have been proven to support heart health, reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and help reduce bad LDL Cholesterol levels.
A classic but little known example are the Kuna Indians, natives of a small group of islands just off Panama.
They eat raw cacao extensively as part of their daily diet and they have recorded some of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in the world.
Boosting Moods With Dark Chocolate
Cacao can help improve moods by triggering the release of a chemical known as anandamide – this is a lipid found in cacao and has the common nickname, the “Bliss Molecule”.
It is known to reduce stress and help make moods more positive, helping you to tackle the day in a far better, more effective frame of mind.
Cacao and Testosterone Boosting
Dark chocolate is very high in Zinc and Magnesium which are two well known and clinically recognised testosterone boosting compounds. Its also good at regulating blood sugar levels, reducing stress and bad cholesterol.
It is also packed with healthy fats at optimum levels which are essential for the increasing of testosterone production.
Studies have shown that eating cacao (which is high in flavanols) will help increase plasma nitric oxide concentration, boosting its bioavailability.
This is a fantastic fact, its well documented that increased nitric oxide levels are directly linked to improved testosterone production, increased erection strength and improved cardiovascular health.
The Flavanoids In Cacao
Cacao contains many different flavanoids, the two key ones being Quercetin and the other Epicatechin.
Epicatechin is what provides Cacao with its ability to boost blood flow and nitric oxide. There have been numerous lab studies on this fact both in petri dishes and in test animals such as rates and mice.
I did mange to find details on one human study too which always gives us a better idea of how it can help with boosting strength (it did not focus on testosterone boosting, but increased strength which is a part of improved testosterone production, so its reasonable to expect the two are linked).
A small group of 6 middle aged men were given 1mg of Epicatechin per kilo of bodyweight twice daily for a period of 7 days.
The average dose given to each man was recorded at 150mg per day.
After the 7 day test period, their grip strength was tested and it was seen to have increased by an average of 7%.
Their levels of follistatin (great for building muscle mass) had also increased and levels of myostatin (which inhibits muscle growth) had decreased.
Although a very short term test, its results do indicate that the regular consumption of cacao can have positive effects on strength levels – something highly indicative of increased testosterone.
It a shame that the researchers did not bother to check both muscle mass and testosterone levels at the time, so we do have to take this study for what it is, which is basically proof of concept.
My Conclusion On The Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
There is no doubt that eating dark chocolate nibs is a pleasurable experience and more importantly one at offers some great health benefits too.
I recommend getting down to your local health shop and buying some pure cacao nibs and adding them to your diet – 3 tablespoons per day is plenty.
There is so much you can do with them – eat them as is, or you can blend them into a smoothie, or sprinkle them into your breakfast cereal (actually they are great with porridge!.)
“Eating Chocolate has never been better for you!”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
I am 60 years old, I currently live in London. I have one married daughter aged 35
I have always had a passion for fitness, In my younger days I was a keen swimmer and competed at county level both at home and abroad. I am also a keen squash and tennis player and have always been a keen gym goer.
I have a CPD accreditation in Sports Nutrition and am a published author with my articles featuring in some popular publications.
Over the past 13 years I have studied the effects of testosterone both in the younger man and as we get older, the effects of low or reduced testosterone and how increasing its production can really improve your health.
On a personal level, a number of years ago, I was diagnosed with Low-T myself, and my own in-depth research has helped me to redress my own health concerns.