We all know that refined sugar is bad for our health but that doesn’t stop us from ordering that creamy hot chocolate laden with marshmallows and whipped cream. We’re so swaddled in layers and eclipsed in darkness, we need all the comforts we can get.
But rather than leaving us with a feeling of satisfaction, the more sugar we consume, the more we want. This is because sugar interferes with leptin, a hormone that helps to produce feelings of satiety. For example, you may have noticed that when you eat dark chocolate you don’t tend to demolish the entire bar in one go. It’s usually a different story when it comes to milk chocolate. That’s because milk chocolate can have as little as 10% cacao in it and is largely made up of sugar, milk solids and lecithin (fat).
What’s more, whilst sugary drinks taste good, things don’t stay sweet for long. Not only do we experience an initial burst of energy, otherwise known as a “sugar high”, which inevitably leads to a crash resulting in an unwanted lack of energy and low to no concentration levels, our mood can also be affected. An over-consumption of sugar can send our minds and bodies into a tailspin, increasing feelings of stress, anxiety, irritability and depression.
The good news is that we don’t have to cut out all chocolate. Many will be pleased to hear that cocoa and its raw contemporary, cacao, are not the enemies. Refined sugar and additives are.
So, if you find yourself hitting a wall at midday and reaching for your nearest sugary snack, then this sugar-and dairy-free Cacao Maca Magic latte could be the answer. Blended with 100% certified organic, medicinal-grade herbs and spices, Pukka’s Cacao Maca Magic is a delicious, luxurious and guilt-free way to enjoy nature’s finest botanicals.
Beneath the velvety chocolate flavour lie health-boosting organic herbs to naturally boost your mood and balance hormones. As a natural alternative to sugar, Pukka has used inulin, a sweet but calorie-free ingredient that is also a pre-biotic. With the inclusion of coconut milk powder, this latte is luxuriously creamy and satisfying.
Cocoa: Unlike milk chocolate which contains high levels of sugar, cocoa is said to regulate and improve mood by boosting levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, enhancing feelings of wellbeing and pleasure.
It also contains theobromine which means ‘food of the gods’ in Greek. This helps to lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function and boost mood. Interestingly, women are more receptive to theobromine than men, which may explain why women crave chocolate more than men do.
Cocoa is also naturally high in antioxidants which help fight off harmful free radicals that otherwise cause damage in the body, as well as being rich in magnesium, zinc and calcium.
Ashwagandha: A renowned adaptogenic tonic, ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Eastern and Ayurvedic medicine, to ease away stress related tension, calm a busy or anxious mind, support sleep and promote energy.
Maca: A stimulating superfood that is rich in antioxidants. Maca has recently taken centre stage in the natural health and nutrition community. It is used to boost energy and mood, as well as to balance oestrogen levels and boost libido in women.
Shatavari: An adaptogenic tonic, well known for supporting female health. Shatavari helps to balance hormones, reduce menopausal and menstrual symptoms and enhance fertility.
Cinnamon: A naturally sweet spice, cinnamon can help to balance blood sugar levels and help beat sugar cravings.
Inulin: Inulin is a type of plant fibre that helps to improve gut health, heart health and metabolic rate, as well as stimulating digestion and contributing to healthy bowel movements. It is also said to help curb appetite.
Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.