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Chocolate Chaï: an Anti-Stress Drink

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Here is a drink full of sweetness and comfort for a guaranteed anti-stress effect!



Before revealing my recipe to you, a quick word on the choice of my ingredients.


Cinnamon has many virtues but I chose it here for two of them. Indeed, if you closely follow the blog posts of recent months, you will have understood that chronic stress leads to inflammation and oxidative stress. And this is good because cinnamon has scientifically proven anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro and in vivo in humans. And also, we are starting to advise taking cinnamon, in the management of type 2 diabetes (under medical supervision of course: do not start swallowing the pot of cinnamon if you have type 2 diabetes). Indeed, its anti-inflammatory effect is partly due to its action on blood sugar levels and the improvement of insulin resistance. The studies are carried out with Ceylon cinnamon, so be careful when you buy it, if the cinnamon is in this variety. Note that Ceylon cinnamon is also rich in coumarin, a natural organic substance which is also found in large quantities in the tonka bean, and which can be toxic in very high doses (this is the reason why health authorities have withdrawn the tonka bean from the market in certain countries). But don't panic, with 1g of ceylon cinnamon per day you risk nothing, except being in better health 🙂. Last word on cinnamon: it also has anti-microbial effects and therefore takes care of our microbiota (cf. blog stress and microbiota).

 

Clove for its content, among other things, in eugenol, which gives it, like cinnamon, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Cocoa and dark chocolate (yummmmm!) have anxiolytic effects! And this is thanks to the polyphenols (flavonoids) they contain. Obviously the darker the chocolate, the richer it is in cocoa and therefore in polyphenols. So choose dark chocolate > 70% cocoa. It's origin also influences its polyphenol content. It would seem that dark chocolate from Madagascar is the richest in flavonoids... However, the studies carried out must be completely neutral and transparent 🧐. In any case, several studies show the effect of 40g of dark chocolate on neurotransmitters and stress hormones: the level of serotonin in the brain seems to be increased and the rate of cortisol secretion decreased.

 

And finally, black tea which, due to its polyphenol content, seems to reduce cortisol levels. Clinical studies on the subject are rare but seem serious. One of them reports that consuming black tea at a rate of 4 cups per day for 6 weeks would reduce cortisol levels by 20% compared to the control group...But hey, 4 cups is a lot, and it should be noted that theine limits the absorption of iron, so be careful if you have anemia or an iron deficiency.

 

Now you understand how I created my recipe, so I'll let you discover it. Attention, moment of sweetness is guaranteed!!!


Ingrédients (for 4 people)


 • 1 liter of water

• 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

• 8 cloves

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

• 2 bags of black tea

• 400 ml of vegetable milk

• 80 g of 70% cocoa dark chocolate, preferably from Madagascar

 

Preparation


1/ In a teapot, infuse the cardamom, nutmeg, cocoa, cloves, cinnamon sticks and black tea for 5 minutes.


2/ Beat the vegetable milk into foam with the milk frother.


3/ In a cup, pour the mixture from the teapot through a strainer. Add the milk foam and grate the dark chocolate on top.


To be enjoyed under a blanket by the fire ☺.



 

Sources

Priyanga Ranasinghe, Shehani Pigera, Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R Constantine, and Prasad Katulanda. Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013; 13: 275.


Gaber El-Saber Batiha, Luay M. Alkazmi, Lamiaa G. Wasef, Amany Magdy Beshbishy,Eman H. Nadwa,and Eman K. Rashwan. Syzygium aromaticum L. (Myrtaceae): Traditional Uses, Bioactive Chemical Constituents, Pharmacological and Toxicological Activities. Biomolecules. 2020 Feb; 10(2): 202.


Andrew Steptoe, E Leigh Gibson, Raisa Vuononvirta, Emily D Williams, Mark Hamer, Jane A Rycroft, Jorge D Erusalimsky, Jane Wardle. Effects of tea on psychophysiological stress responsivity and post-stress recovery: a randomised double-blind trial. Pharmacology (Berl), 2007 Jan;190(1):81-9.

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