SERVING SIZE: 1 tbsp
SPECIES: Theobroma cacao
How Can This Ayurvedic Food Make You Feel Great?
Medicinal BenefitsChocolate's role in fertility extends beyond passion to the traditional use of cacao in pregnancy and to ease childbirth. Chocolate's warms and wakes up the reproductive organs - relaxing pelvic muscles during labor while simultaneously shifting a mother's awareness to the muscles of the pelvic floor. The shift in awareness helps her find and engage the muscles to deliver the fetus. Vasodilation of pelvic muscles also helps reduce preclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy).
Chocolate reduces chest congestion by improving circulation in major vessels around the heart and by relaxing bronchial spasms, which is also useful in asthma. In one study chocolate was found to be 3x more effective than codeine at reducing cough, without the drowsy side effects. The antitussive quality is due to theobromine, which suppresses the vagus nerve. Meso-Americans also used chocolate to treat fever.
Contraindications & LimitsAyurvedically, chocolate aggravates Pitta and Vata primarily. Chocolate is also difficult to digest. Over consumption can leave you feeling nauseous. Its hot quality could leave a mild stinging sensation in the eyes about 15 minutes after eating - an early warning sign of high Pitta.
Chocolate has a reputation for breaking the will of dieters. In one study, chocolate derailed the discipline regimens of 48% of women and 32% of men. With chocolate, a little goes a long way. We recommend a maximum of two squares daily.
Although chocolate has many health benefits, the fats and sugars mixed into chocolate can aggravate Kapha heaviness & mucus congestion. Here are some more supportive ways of preparing chocolate: Try dark chocolate sprinkled with Red Chili, or candied Ginger coated in dark chocolate. Ginger and Red Chili help kindle your metabolic fire (agni) so that you digest the chocolate better.
Chocolate & LonelinessChocolate cravings come more intensely in times of loneliness. Add rose to your chocolate which will nourish the heart, leaving you feeling much more satisfied than plain chocolate. Dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and protein helps prevent a sugar spike from eating chocolate alone. Salt adds a stimulating taste that helps balance the sweet.
Chocolate is high in magnesium, anti-oxidants and flavonoids. It also contains tryptophan (a serotonin percursor), theobromine (a substance similar to caffeine) and trace amounts of amandamides (which activates the same receptor in the brain as marijuana). All of these factors combine into an alluring substance that is sensual, comforting, rich, and decadent. And, perhaps a little mind altering.
ABOUT CHOCOLATE (CACAO)
BUYING & PREPARATION
Chocolate seeds contain a bitter alkaloid that must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation the beans are dried, cleaned, roasted, and then shelled to reveal the cacao nibs. Since chocolate is more a medicinal herb than a food, the best way to consume chocolate is in small doses.
COOKING CHOCOLATE (CACAO)Browse Recipes
Melted chocolate can be hardened with nuts & pistachios for texture. Strawberries dipped in chocolate offer a sensual treat, but are a difficult to digest food combination. Instead, dry dipping dried fruits and crystallized ginger into chocolates.
Or, mix cacao with tahini and honey for a luxurious treat. Chocolate, sesame seeds, nuts, cayenne and other spices form the popular Mexican sauce 'mole pablano'.
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WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Ayurveda shows you your specific body type’s needs and what should be favored in your Ayurvedic menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Chocolate (Cacao) Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
AYURVEDIC MEDICINAL BIOCHARACTERISTICSWhat is the biocharacteristic theory of medicine?
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of herbal-actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Here are the herbal actions of Chocolate (Cacao):
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, colic or IBS.
Energy Vitality Strength:
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
Heart & Circulation:
BLOOD-THINNERHerbs that thin the blood. Helpful for people with heart disease or clogged circulation.
Lung and Sinus:
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
NERVINEHerbs that specifically go to the nervous system and brain. They can help with stress, memory, early alzheimer?s, even chronic pain.
APHRODISIACHerbs that increase sexual arousal through various actions including increased circulation, relaxation, stimulation, or tonics that strengthen glandular health.
MUSCLE-RELAXANTHerbs that relax muscles. Helpful for chronic pain or tension as well as healing from physical trauma.
HEALTH & WELLNESS PRACTITIONERS!
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HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for Autumn-WinterChocolate (Cacao) is recommended for Autumn-Winter. Check out these other Autumn-Winter foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Chocolate (cacao)'Do you like 'chocolate (cacao)'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'chocolate (cacao)'?
(3.80 out of 5 stars) 5 reviews, 180 likes
How about really dark chocolate - like 99%
Only the milk and sugar in chocolate aggravates Kapha. Pure, dark chocolate aggravates Pitta because it is heating and aggravates Vata because it is difficult to digest.
Chocolate aggravates Vata / Pitta whether or not the chocolate is organic.
If one was to make a hot chocolate drink of cacao powder and cayenne what base of the drink is suitable for Kapha instead of milk?
Consider almond milk...or gold milk.
I am happy to read this. I allow myself 1 square of good 70% chocolate after dinner. It is all I need to satisfy the craving. Now I a can enjoy it without guilt!
Should those of us who are pitta types avoid chocolate all together or simply limit consumption?
a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
DigestionAnal Spasm, Popping/clicking/locking jaw
Respiratory HealthAsthma, Chronic cough
Reproductive HealthClots in menstrual blood, Low libido, Painful menstruation & menstrual cramps
Blood and CirculationHigh Blood Pressure
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.