The health benefits of dark chocolate

April 11, 2017, Swinburne University of Technology
The health benefits of dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has been found to increase your sense of calmness and contentedness. Credit: Swinburne University of Technology

It's no secret that Australians love chocolate, with studies having shown an average of almost 5kg eaten per person per year.

With Easter fast approaching, it has been estimated that during the period will account for a sizeable 3.6 per cent of the nation's total annual consumption.

And while some may fear the effect it will have on their waistline, research conducted at Swinburne in 2013 has concluded that chocolate can be good for you. In fact, the study found that the polyphenols in can increase your sense of calmness and contentedness.

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

"This clinical trial was perhaps one of 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 study, receiving a dark chocolate drink mix with 500mg, 250mg or 0mg of cocoa polyphenols, all presented in identical packages.

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

So as you plough through this year's Easter eggs, stick to the dark ones if you're looking to relax.

The research was originally published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Explore further: Dark chocolate improves calmness

More information: Matthew P Pase et al. Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, Journal of Psychopharmacology (2013). DOI: 10.1177/0269881112473791

Related Stories

Dark chocolate improves calmness

May 3, 2013
(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.

Recommended for you

Early studies of male birth-control pill show promise

March 23, 2018
Well, well, well. The ball has been knocked roundly into your court, gentlemen.

Whether sustained or sporadic, exercise offers same reductions in death risk

March 22, 2018
For decades, Americans have been inundated with a confusing barrage of messages about how best to counteract the health risks of sedentary lifestyles: walk 10,000 steps a day; do a seven-minute workout from a phone app; flip ...

Tai chi as good as or better than aerobic exercise for managing chronic pain

March 21, 2018
The ancient martial art of tai chi has similar or greater benefits than aerobic exercise for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, finds a trial published by The BMJ today.

Study: Poor health is a less common cause of bankruptcy than commonly thought, but it brings other economic woes

March 21, 2018
A team of researchers led by an MIT economist has found that medical expenses account for roughly 4 percent of bankruptcy filings among nonelderly adults in the U.S.

Study finds bad sleep habits start early in school-age children

March 21, 2018
Bad sleep habits in children begin earlier than many experts assume. That's the takeaway from a new study led by McGill University researchers. The findings suggest that official sleep guidelines for young school children ...

Medical expansion has improved health—with one exception

March 21, 2018
While Americans debate the rising cost of health care, a new study of 30 countries over 27 years found that medical expansion has improved overall health - with one major exception.


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.