Dark Chocolate As A Mood Enhancer?

Dark chocolate is considered a healthy food. This relates to the high concentration of flavonoid phytochemicals it contains, in addition to its lower sugar content compared to milk and white chocolate. The flavonoids in chocolate are derived from the cocoa that it contains and these are mainly proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are polymers of the catechins flavonoids found in green tea. Flavonoids have been shown to act as anxiolytic agents in humans and animals, and this may relate to their ability to alter  benzodiazepine receptor function, or may relate to their antioxidant capacity. Studies have investigated the effects of dark chocolate on mood by investigating the response of subjects to consuming 50 grams of dark chocolate for three consecutive days. After three days of chocolate consumption, there was a significant reduction in the anxiety and depression scores experienced by the subjects. This suggests that dark chocolate has significant anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. These effects may manifest after only a short period of moderate chocolate consumption.

chocolate mood anxiety depression

As well as flavonoids, chocolate also contains methylxanthines, particularly theobromine. Some evidence suggests that methylxanthines may have antidepressant effects.

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SY, W. and Lua, P. L. 2012. Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms and Health-related Quality of Life Status among Cancer Patients. Health and the Environment Journal. 3(1): 27-35

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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