Chocolate has long been associated with good feelings (and romance). Is this just a myth though, or does eating chocolate really make you feel better? Let’s take a look at chocolate’s goodness.
According to one recent study, eating dark chocolate can increase feelings of contentedness and calmness. That chocolate promotes feelings of calm and contentedness is probably not news to chocolate lovers, but now there is some science to back up that experience.
The key to chocolate’s mood powers seems to be in an antioxidant known as polyphenol. Researchers studied 72 adults for 30 days as they drank a dark chocolate each day. The lucky participants were split up into three groups, with one group drinking 500 mg of polyphenols, one group drinking only 250 mg of polyphenols, and the final group drinking a dark chocolate drink with no polyphenols. The chocolate drinkers who had been consuming 500 mg of polyphenols each day reported feeling more calm and content after the 30 days than the other groups.
The researchers also studied cognitive function to see if it improved as well. Unfortunately, chocolate did not make the test participants smarter.
Previous studies have also shown that small doses of dark chocolate may have other health benefits, like reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Not all chocolate contains polyphenol though, so you will have to be selective in your choices if you want to benefit from chocolates goodness. White chocolate, for example, does not contain polyphenols.
Sadly, too much of a good thing is still bad for you. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate may improve your mood, but eating too much is likely to worsen your mood next time you step on a scale.
Scientists still do not know why polyphenols improve feelings of calmness and contentedness. More research will need to be done to explore this connection. Does anyone want to volunteer for a research study?