Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, a new study has found that examined whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders. The study is the first to examine its association with depression in the type of chocolate consumed. Researchers reviewed data from 13,626 adults. The participants' chocolate consumption was assessed by their scores assessing depressive symptoms.
The study also took into account a number of other factors, including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health conditions, to ensure that the study only measures chocolate's effect on depression. .
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who ate dark chocolate within two 24-hour periods were 70 percent less likely to have depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating any chocolate at all. The 25 percent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who ate no chocolate at all. However, researchers found no significant association between dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
The study's lead author said:"This study provides some evidence that chocolate consumption, especially dark chocolate, may be associated with a reduced likelihood of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Chocolate is widely said to have mood-enhancing properties and several mechanisms for a chocolate-mood relationship have been proposed.
Chocolate basically contains a number of psychoactive ingredients that induce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabinoid found in cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator thought to be important for regulating people's moods.
Experimental evidence also suggests that mood enhancements only occur when the chocolate is tasty and pleasant to eat, suggesting that the experience of enjoying chocolate is an important factor, not just the ingredients present.
While the above applies to all types of chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals that have been shown to improve inflammation profiles and play a role in the onset of depression.