I Tried Adaptogen Chocolate For Energy and Focus, but I Didn't Expect It to Taste So Good
Chocolate goes well with a lot of things: peanut butter, caramel, strawberries, graham crackers and toasted marshmallows, towering ice cream sundaes with whipped cream . . . sorry, got distracted there. I thought I'd tried all the options in my life as a chocolate-lover, but one combination I'd never thought of? Chocolate with adaptogens.
First, let's talk about adaptogens. These are essentially herbs, roots, or mushrooms that can benefit your body in a number of ways: alleviating stress and anxiety, promoting sleep, and even improving quality of life for people with chronic diseases or pathological conditions, according to a 2010 study. Adaptogens have also been used in naturopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, and Chinese medicine for centuries; here's more on the history and science of these super plants.
I'd heard of adaptogens in drinks before (apparently they're pretty good) but never in chocolate, so I jumped at the chance to try out Addictive Wellness's gourmet adaptogen chocolate. The brand sent me a sample of each of its varieties, which are meant to benefit you in different ways: Tranquility, Focus, Love, Beauty, Energy, and Recharge. I'll talk about my three favorites ahead.
What Is Addictive Wellness Adaptogen Chocolate?
These chocolates are infused with "specially selected, pure and potent adaptogenic superherbs," according to Addictive Wellness. The sugar-free, dairy-free chocolates are made with raw cacao, which means they're rich and not overly sweet. More on the taste in a bit; first, a quick overview of my top three chocolates.
- Tranquility: This chocolate contains herbs meant to reduce stress and anxiety, including reishi mushroom and ashwagandha.
- Focus: The Focus chocolate includes nootropic herbs to enhance cognitive function (memory, recall, focus, and attention), such as lion's mane mushroom.
- Energy: The astragalus in this chocolate has strong anti-inflammatory and immunity properties and, along with ashwagandha, is meant to increase energy.
How Does Adaptogen Chocolate Taste?
I know you might have your doubts after all the herbs and mushrooms we just talked about, but this adaptogen chocolate is tasty. It tastes like very dark, very rich chocolate, which makes sense because it's sugar-free and dairy-free; nothing watering down that cacao taste. And I was happy to discover that, despite the different compounds and mushrooms in the chocolate, it never tasted off or herby. I also wasn't able to tell a huge difference in taste between the different chocolates I tried.
How Did I Feel?
In terms of adaptogen effects, my favorite chocolate was Focus. I ate a square right before a 9 p.m. Scrabble game, and I actually did feel zoned into the game, which I almost won (my dad won in the last turn with a word that barely exists, not that I'm bitter or anything). I also tried taking it in the middle of a workday and felt more focused, even powering through my afternoon slump. The Energy chocolate gave me a similar recharging effect.
I tried the Tranquility chocolate after dinner, when I was still trying to relax after a stressful day at work. I felt myself winding down within a half hour, letting go of some of the anxiety and tension I was carrying around from the day. I also sampled a square closer to bedtime and felt the same chill, relaxing effect, and since this chocolate doesn't have caffeine, it didn't keep me up.
Do I Recommend Addictive Wellness Adaptogen Chocolate?
I liked this chocolate because it tasted rich and luxurious (minus sugar and dairy) and provided bonus benefits for my mind and body. While the effects weren't life-changing (I was only eating one square at a time, after all), they were noticeable enough to help me reach whatever goals I was aiming for at a certain time of day, whether that was focusing on my work or relaxing after I signed off. And since the focus, energy, and tranquility came along with a tasty rich chocolate, I'd give them a try again. It is worth noting that as a gourmet, adaptogen-infused brand, Addictive Wellness isn't as cheap as most chocolate bars. Each four-square chocolate bar sells for $8 on its website, where you can also buy six-packs in bulk.
(Note that you shouldn't consume these chocolates if you're allergic to mushrooms, pregnant, or breastfeeding, per Addictive Wellness.)