Did you know that you can satisfy your chocolate fix and reduce stress with a herbal drink?
Through indulging in delicious herbal cacao blends that are a great alternative to chocolate, you may support your body to become stress resistant and keep fatigue levels in check.
At Organic Merchant, it all starts with selection of the finest certified organic ingredients. We then create our bespoke cacao blends incorporating nature’s stress busters – adaptogens.
Cacao vs cocoa: what is the difference?
Before we explore the role of adaptogens, let’s take a quick look at the health benefits of cacao vs. cocoa.
All chocolate and cocoa products are derived from cacao, however cocoa usually refers to the core ingredient of processed chocolate which are made from roasted beans.
This processing and roasting of cacao beans can make it a less reliable source of healthy compounds such as flavonoids and fibre.
Further, processing often involves adding fats and sugars which not only reduces the proportion of cocoa in the food or drink product, it also adds calories.
Raw cacao on the other hand is made by cold-pressing unroasted beans which helps keep much more of the nutritional profile intact and has no nasty additions.
What are adaptogens and how do they relate to stress?
Adaptogens are substances found in certain herbs and plants that can help improve our ability to cope with stress.
They do this through various mechanisms that work together to bring the body back into homeostasis, or a state of balance.
Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and the Indian healing practice of Ayurveda, for thousands of years. Adaptogenic plants used in holistic treatments include liquorice, Siberian ginseng, shatavari and holy basil, to name a few.
We all experience varying levels of stress in our lives, possibly coping better on some occasions than others. In simple terms, the stress response can be broken down into three phases:
- Alarm – where your adrenal gland produces ‘fight or flight’ hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. This is an immediate and urgent response.
- Resistance – this is the stage where your body acts in response to the stressful situation and attempts to return the body to normal. It’s during this phase that our ability to adapt, concentrate and perform gets a boost (and where adaptogens may support the process, but more on that later).
- Exhaustion – this is the end stage of chronic stress where the body attempts to repair and recover but is not able to do so effectively. If not kept in check, this can lead to more serious health
Overall, the stress response is a remarkable mechanism that helps us respond to, and survive, threatening events. It can even improve our performance. For example, athletes deliberately put themselves under stress in order to improve their strength and speeds.
Support for your mental and physical wellness
Chronic negative stress in our lives can be detrimental to our health and lead to the exhaustion phase.
This is because when cells are under stress, they can suffer damage from free radicals and nitrous oxide. The production of cortisol can also inhibit the immune system.
Additionally, the constant production of stress hormones from our adrenal glands can lead to depletion of micronutrients, adrenal fatigue and mental and physical illness.
Treat stress naturally with cacao blends
The good news is that adaptogens can help stretch out the resistance phase for longer, improving our ability to ‘adapt’ to the stressor.
Through this complex process, adaptogens reduce levels of nitrous oxide and cortisol, leading to improvements in immunity and faster protein repair.
This in turn can lead to better sleep, mood, endurance, health and immunity.
Adaptogens can be taken in a range of forms. This includes as a supplement pill, or in the herbal rejuvenating jams typically used in Ayurveda. They can also be combined with cacao and other ingredients in a powder for a soothing drink, as in our Spirit Dust.
Our cacao is an artisan product, hand blended in Sydney. It is not only full of adaptogens, but is Australian Certified Organic gluten, dairy and sugar free as well as vegan friendly. And if that’s not enough, we’ve also won numerous Australian industry awards for our cacao range.
You can read more about our journey, or purchase our beautiful cacao blended products here.