Whether you’ve had a rough day at work, gone through a breakup, or had some other buzz-killing event, you might turn to food to feel better. Specifically, you might turn to chocolate, and as it turns out, you might be on to something.
Dark chocolate can boost your mood and might just make you feel happier.
Back in 2019, researchers at University College London examined the connection between chocolate consumption and a lowered occurrence of depressive symptoms. They found that people who ate dark chocolate in two 24 hours periods were 70% less likely to report depression symptoms than those who ate no chocolate.
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Why does this work? Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which is a neuromodulator that helps regulate mood. Then, there are all the antioxidants. Dark chocolate contains polyphenolic compounds which help lower cortisol levels which could reduce stress.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should start chowing down every night. There are a few things to keep in mind. First, this research is specific to dark chocolate—not milk chocolate. Don’t think you can reach for a Hershey bar and get the same effects. You need to eat dark chocolate that’s at least 60% cocoa, and the research shows you need only half an ounce to reap the benefits. Anything extra is just a treat.
If you find yourself reaching for a cocktail after work, it might be time to switch things up. Dark chocolate might just be the food-based comfort you need that can actually help.