Is There a Link Between Dark Chocolate and Depression?
Have you eaten chocolates and instantly felt warm and uplifted? We all are guilty of eating chocolate on a bad day to uplift our mood. However, is there any connection between chocolate and depression?
A Delicious Connection
Chocolate is a silk wonder of flavors and textures which has some connection with the human psyche. Over the years, this connection has been the focus of various researches. Many survey-based studies looking into the impact of chocolate consumption and depression found that people eating dark chocolates are less likely to report symptoms of depression.
What the Study Says
After assessing the data from 13626 adults from US National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers of UCL working in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada found that dark chocolates positively affect on mood and relieves depressive symptoms.
Why Dark Chocolates
With high sugar content, milk chocolates cannot be enjoyed often as a snack – especially if you are eating healthy. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, has no sugar content and more antioxidants & minerals.
Rich in Antioxidants
Dark chocolate is made up of cocoa powder that is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help in reducing oxidative stress that causes aging and other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, etc. It also has an amino acid, Tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for producing a feeling of happiness.
Healthy Oxygen Circulation
Flavanols present in chocolate helps in promoting healthy blood vessel function and blood circulation to the brain. During the fitness training, a little dark chocolate might boost oxygen availability. With regular consumption of chocolate, you can improve cognitive performance and brain ability to reorganize itself.
Reduces Anxiety & Symptoms of Depression
In addition to being rich in natural stress-reducing antioxidants, dark chocolate also has phenylethylamine – a natural antidepressant. Thus, regular consumption of chocolate helps in reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression.
How Much to Eat?
According to the studies, you should have 20-30g of dark chocolate with higher percentages of cacao solids per day. You must choose chocolates that contain less sugar. Make sure you choose dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cacao solids.
What to Keep in Mind?
Processing methods used in manufacturing affect the flavanol content in a chocolate product. Flavanol and antioxidants primarily add to the health benefits of dark chocolate. Thus, you should buy chocolate from the right manufacturers.
Cocoa solids, the main content of dark chocolate, are very calorie-dense food and might contain some quantities of sugar and fat. Cocoa butter consists of unhealthy saturated fats. Thus, you must consume dark chocolates in moderation and avoid overindulging.
Rich source of antioxidants and minerals, dark chocolate helps in boosting a feeling of happiness and reduces symptoms of depression. Some researchers also suggest that dark chocolate lowers the risk of many diseases, improves oxygen circulation, and enhances brain function when taken regularly in moderation.