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: Cocoa compounds may reduce blood pressure

Related Stories

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

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...

Men more likely to be seen as 'creative thinkers'

September 28, 2015

People tend to associate the ability to think creatively with stereotypical masculine qualities, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 03, 2013
Headlines: "DEA designates dark chocolate scheduled substance." [popular uprising ensues...]
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)?
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.
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.