Dark chocolate improves calmness

May 3, 2013
Dark chocolate improves calmness

(Medical Xpress)—Good news for chocolate lovers. New research from Swinburne University of Technology has found that the polyphenols in dark chocolate increase calmness and contentedness.

Polyphenols are found naturally in plants and are a basic component of the human diet. These compounds have been shown to reduce oxidative stress which is associated with many diseases. They may also have beneficial psychological effects.

"Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement," Swinburne PhD candidate and lead author of the study Matthew Pase said.

"This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood."

Seventy-two healthy men and women aged 40-65 years took part in the to receive a drink mix standardised to contain either 500 mg of cocoa polyphenols, 250 mg of cocoa polyphenols or 0 mg of cocoa polyphenols. The drink mixes were given to participants in identical packaging so that both the investigators and participants were unaware of which treatment they were receiving.

Participants drank their assigned drink once a day for 30 days.

After 30 days, those who drank the high dose concentration of cocoa polyphenols reported greater calmness and contentedness than those who drank either of the other drink mixes.

The researchers failed to find any evidence that cocoa polyphenols significantly improved . Additionally, only those who consumed the highest amount of (500 mg per day) reported any significant positive effects. Participants who consumed a moderate amount (250 mg per day) reported no significant effects.

The research is published in the May issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Explore further: New study shows that cocoa flavanols can be preserved during cooking and baking

Related Stories

Chocolate is a 'super fruit'

February 7, 2011

It is widely known that fruit contains antioxidants which may be beneficial to health. New research published in the open access journal Chemistry Central Journal demonstrates that chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants ...

New explanation for heart-healthy benefits of chocolate

February 7, 2011

In time for the chocolate-giving and chocolate-noshing fest on Valentine's Day, scientists are reporting discovery of how this treat boosts the body's production of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) — the "good" ...

Cocoa compounds may reduce blood pressure

August 14, 2012

Compounds in cocoa may help to reduce blood pressure, according to a new systematic review in The Cochrane Library. The researchers reviewed evidence from short-term trials in which participants were given dark chocolate ...

Recommended for you

People with alcohol dependency lack important enzyme

August 30, 2016

A research group under the leadership of Linköping University Professor Markus Heilig has identified an enzyme whose production is turned off in nerve cells of the frontal lobe when alcohol dependence develops. The deficiency ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ddudley
not rated yet May 03, 2013
Headlines: "DEA designates dark chocolate scheduled substance." [popular uprising ensues...]
DesertWanderer
not rated yet May 03, 2013
How much solid dark chocolate contains 500 mg of polyphenols, at what percent cacao? Does it vary by some factor (e.g. manufacturer, process)?
alfie_null
not rated yet May 04, 2013
My calmness and contentedness was disrupted when I saw how much it would cost to purchase the journal.
Chocolate as a compound, also contains theobromine, which is a bit like caffeine.
marko
not rated yet May 06, 2013
Why dark chocolate ? Wouldn't baking cocoa that you buy in a tin from the supermarket be better. Its cheaper and doesn't contain sugar or other unnecessary additives that corrupt the results. Surely this study is not funded by the chocolate industry.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.