Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the health & fitness industry, or you’re thinking about joining your first fitness or Yoga class, this piece is for you.
If you’re also someone who is looking for a more natural pre-workout, cacao can be used as an extremely healthy and effective choice.
Let’s start with the first & most obvious - the energising effects of cacao:
Cacao can be classed as a stimulant. It contains caffeine, and while nowhere near as much as coffee (about one sixth to one eighth), cacao still contains enough to stimulate the central nervous system, provide mental sharpness, focus, and enhance your performance.
Its major stimulant is called theobromine. Theobromine is found almost exclusively in cacao; it lifts energy for an extended period without the crash, provides mental focus, relaxes smooth muscle tissue, enhances mood, and dilates blood vessels.
It’s a cardiovascular stimulant that supports increased blood flow - optimal for training.
Next up, the physiological benefits of cacao:
Cacao contains an abundance of minerals; we utilise minerals every day in the most basic of cellular functions, and extra is required when we’re doing intense exercise. Cacao boasts extremely generous amounts of iron, zinc, and magnesium, all of which are extremely important in basic metabolic function as well as physical fitness.
Smaller amounts of other minerals can also be found in high quality cacao such as calcium, copper, chromium, manganese, phosphorus, sulphur, potassium - as well as trace amounts of B vitamins.
Finally, we can't go without mentioning the mood-boosting effects of cacao:
There are two main bio-active compounds that support our focus and mood which are Anandamide and Phenylethylamine (PEA). If you sometimes find yourself feeling a little flat or unmotivated, cacao can support your training by helping you to feel more uplifted and engaged.
Anandamide is commonly known as the ‘bliss’ molecule; it is an endogenous (meaning it comes from within the body) cannabinoid found in the brain, and acts as a neurotransmitter that targets the same brain structure as THC found in cannabis, leaving us feeling blissful.
Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a molecule that is also found naturally in the body but also contained in cacao. It’s most known for its mood enhancing & uplifting properties, as well as improving athletic performance. It has influence over other neurotransmitters in the brain that supports the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – all of which are fantastic for exercise.
So the next time you’re planning on going for a run, a big gym session, or a Vinyasa yoga session, drink a cup of cacao 30-60min prior to support and enhance your session.