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We know that dark chocolate is great against anxiety. Dr. Mercola even calls it “the new antianxiety drug“. But why is dark chocolate so powerful anxiety abolisher? First or all, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that reduce risks for several diseases, even for heart disease. Dark chocolate also reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone behind anxiety symptoms. (Read more about hormones and anxiety.)
Dark chocolate contains also lots of tryptophan, which is an amino acid and a precursor to serotonin. So, instead of Prozac, grab some dark chocolate!
Actually, the list of the benefits of dark chocolate is endless. Did you know that dark chocolate helps also lower high blood pressure? (You can read more here if anxiety can cause high blood pressure.) However, the most important thing to take into account is that not all dark chocolate is treated equally. There is lots of junk on the market. Many of the dark chocolate products are heavily sweetened with sugar and all kinds of syrups – all of which wreak havoc on your mind and mood, causing anxiety among other symptoms.
The dark chocolate you use should contain at least 85% cocoa solids. You can even use dark, unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened baking chocolate, which are the most beneficial ones. However, for this recipe I’ve chosen 85% dark chocolate, because it works well and still has a lot of benefits without being too sugary or high in carbs.
Organic heavy cream
It might come as a surprise that heavy cream and the milk fats in it actually do good for you and your brains. Did you know that your brain is mostly fat, being the fattest organ in your body? Then, how are you supposed to get your brain working normally with low-fat food that is the current recommendation? Well, you are not! Your brain needs fat to be able to work properly, also when it comes to your mood. That’s why fat – and healthy milk fat – is important in your diet. I will write more about healthy fats and their effect on health, because that’s my special area, so stay tuned.
Orange essential oil
This recipe also contains orange essential oil that has wonderfully fresh and elegant scent and thus is perfect to combat anxiety. Orange essential oil is uplifting but also relaxing. It is wonderful for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. In addition to orange essential oil, the recipe calls for grated orange peel to obtain all the benefits of fresh, elegant orange flavors. Did you know that the essential oil is in the orange peel? Now when you grate an orange peel yourself, you are sure to get the freshest orange essential oil possible! Moreover, to release all the power, the grated orange peel is slightly heated, together with the chocolate and the heavy cream. Always use organic, unhandled oranges. You want to avoid pesticides and other residues as much as possible.
Unrefined sea salt
In my opinion, nobody should use table salt. Why? Simply because it lacks essential minerals and just causes hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure – which is even worse if you suffer from anxiety because anxiety, too, can cause hypertension, so it’s a double whammy. For example Himalayan salt and Celtic sea salt are straight provided by the Mother Nature and they contain dozens of essential minerals. Table salt, in turn, contains only sodium and chloride. Moreover, table salt is refined – so chemically processed to remove minerals – which means that there might be residues of these toxic chemicals. Moreover, companies tend to add harmful ingredients, like anti-caking agents or even dextrose (= sugar) to improve the texture and the other properties.
What really doesn’t make sense is that those essential minerals that are removed are considered as “impurities”. If you are suffering from anxiety, you do need these essential minerals so table salt is the last option you should use. Always go for natural, unrefined sea salt to get all the benefits and the important minerals.
Nuts contain healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts are especially good. They are not too high in carbs, so they won’t make your blood sugar spike. Even if you are not a diabetic, constant fluctuation in blood sugar levels is not good for anybody and will bring troubles in the long run. It becomes more and more difficult to regulate the blood sugar and finally you end up with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, walnuts contain beneficial dietary fat that improves metabolism. Walnuts are also great for weight control.
Talking about blood sugar and blood sugar spikes, sugar is the last thing you should eat, especially if you suffer from anxiety. Also artificial sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium should be avoided. Two safe sweeteners are erythritol and stevia, the latter of which has been used hundreds or even thousands of years. Erythritol is sugar alcohol, but usually well tolerated. It also occurs naturally for example in fruits and some fermented foods.
Always use stevia that is extracted from the leaves of stevia rebaudiana plant, leave the chemically processed steviol glycosides to the store. I prefer NuNaturals brand among others, they carry high-quality stevia that has zero to none aftertaste and is purely natural.
But finally, let’s take a look of this delicious recipe. Enjoy!
- 1 cup = 240 ml = 5.3 oz = 150 g dark chocolate chunks or chips (cocoa solids minimum 85%)
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml organic heavy cream without food additives
- 1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated peel from organic orange
- 40 drops alcohol-free vanilla stevia
- 2 drops orange essential oil
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml chopped organic walnuts
- Place the chocolate, cream, salt and the orange peel in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium-low heat, stirring once in a while, until the chocolate is melted and everything is combined well. Be careful and don't let the chocolate burn.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
- Pour into a 5×5-inch (10×10 cm) glass or ceramic dish.
- Refrigerate for four hours or until firm.
- Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and serve.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
TIP: As peppermint essential oil is also uplifting and great against anxiety, you can replace the orange essential oil with 3 drops peppermint oil (real oil, no flavoring or extract).
Like said, even right food and diet are in a key position to treat your anxiety, it’s unlikely that you can fully curb your anxiety with those. Most likely you will need a holistic approach to get rid of anxiety completely. However, you really can improve your mood and reduce anxiety with certain foods and sticking to a healthy diet.