Dark chocolate is a delicious food beloved by many people around the world, and interestingly it may also reduce your risk for depression, according to a recent study.
Chocolate comes from cacao, which is a plant with high levels of minerals and antioxidants. Dark chocolate is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. The cocoa also contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which can provide several health benefits.
Previous studies found a positive link between chocolate and enhanced mood.
DARK CHOCOLATE: STUDY RESULTS
Researchers examined data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After excluding individuals who were underweight or had diabetes, 13,626 participants aged 20 years or older were evaluated.
The results were very positive. Individuals who ate dark chocolate lowered their risk for depressive symptoms by 70 percent. They reported fewer clinically depressive symptoms compared to participants who did not eat dark chocolate.
In addition, 25 percent of participants who ate all kinds of chocolate also reported fewer incidents and symptoms of depression compared to the non-chocolate eaters.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and is the leading global cause of disability.
Researchers believe that the positive effects of dark chocolate on promoting a positive mood may be due to its’ higher concentrations of flavenoids. Flavenoids are antioxidant chemicals that can reduce inflammation. Several studies have previously shown a strong link between inflammation and depression.
In addition, chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important for regulating people’s moods.
Experimental evidence also suggests that mood improvements only take place if the chocolate is pleasant to eat. This suggests that enjoying chocolate is an important factor, not just the ingredients present.