The Biohacker’s Guide To Dark Chocolates

The biohacker’s guide to dark chocolate

It’s really not too good to be true: chocolate is good for you. Nutritionist, naturopath and chiropractor Damian Kristof shares his good-for-you chocolate guide with Pana Organic’s Dark Chocolate.

Chocolate and biohacking are two of my favourite things to talk about. For those new to the world of biohacking, it is a movement that consists of making incremental changes to your diet or lifestyle to ultimately improve your health and wellbeing. Some changes can be instant, where others serve as building blocks towards a long-term pay-off.

For all the chocoholics out there, chocolate has an abundance of biohacking health benefits. But before you reach for the commercial milk chocolate, to get all the amazing health benefits we need to be looking for chocolate that is high in cacao. This is where the superpower of chocolate lies. The darker you go, the more benefits you’ll get. We’ll talk about food intelligence later on — but suffice it to say, the more processed food is, the less quality information (intelligence) the food gives us.

So where can you find chocolate with high levels of cacao? Pana Organic chocolate has answered the call with a new dark chocolate bar that features a whopping 70 per cent cacao. If there was a gold standard for a biohacker’s chocolate bar, this is certainly it.

While you break into your Pana Organic chocolate stash. Here are some biohacking facts for you to munch on.


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Brain health

Did you know that places where chocolate consumption is the highest have the most Nobel Prize recipients? According to a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, this fact is true. Perhaps this is because chocolate has been reported to improve your working memory in as little as two hours after eating.

Improve your mood

Chocolate can help you find your bliss … literally. Dark chocolate is the main food source of anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule”. It boosts your production of feel-good chemicals leading to happiness and positive mood. Some people also report a feeling of a brain buzz similar to being in love. Who loves chocolate!?

Lucid dreaming

Eating any kind of food before bed isn’t usually a good idea, but chocolate can actually enhance your dreams. Some have reported a few pieces of chocolate can lead to lucid or even R-rated dreams. Be careful not to eat too much though — your dreams may wake you up.

Heart health

One of the biggest benefits of dark chocolate is improving your heart health. According to the journal Heart, published in July 2015, researchers found that people who indulged in a daily habit of dark chocolate decreased their risk of both heart disease and stroke. I reckon that’s pretty interesting (moderation is still key!).

Athletic performance

We’ve all heard of Popeye’s strength-inducing spinach habit. Well, chocolate may have a similar effect. That’s because the flavanols found in dark chocolate increase nitric oxide, which in turn helps to oxygenate your blood when exercising. I reckon I’ll still eat my protein after exercise and perhaps a couple of little squares of chocolate too.


If you’re looking for ways to destress and feel good, getting intimate may just do the trick. But before you get there, a healthy serve of 40 grams of dark chocolate has been shown to increase dopamine in your body. Dopamine is the body’s feel-good chemical which increases and activates your pleasure centres in the brain. Bring me more!


The chemical theobromine found in cacao has been shown to have a significant effect on calming the vagus nerve, which runs down your spine to your stomach and diaphragm. Studies show that theobromine helps to suppress coughing better than some cough medicines — even ones that contain codeine, a highly addictive opioid.

Magnesium replenishment

Cramping, light sensitivity, cravings for salty foods, melancholy, insomnia, anxiety and more are signs of magnesium insufficiency or deficiency. There are many high-quality sources of magnesium in your diet, but a lesser-known source is dark chocolate, which is rich in plant-based sources of magnesium. It’s an easy and (very) tasty, plant-based source of magnesium, great for carnivores, omnivores and herbivores (vegans and vegetarians).

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Damian Kristof

Damian Kristof

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