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Eating dark chocolate could improve your mood, new study finds

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Anna Pollitt
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Dark chocolate has once again been lauded as a foodie hero following a large-scale study that showed those who consumed a significant slab of the plain variety daily could lower their risk of depression by 70 percent.

We’ve heard it before, but we’re happy to hear it again; eating chocolate is good for you.

Consuming at least 104 grams of chocolate with a high cocoa content every day could act as a mood booster and lower symptoms of depression, a new study has found.

Not keen on the dark stuff? Researchers from University College London also found that participants who ate the most chocolate of any kind were also less likely to report feelings of depression than those who didn’t consume any at all.

But those who stuck to only dark varieties were found to reduce the risk of depression by a staggering 70 percent.

The chemicals and compounds responsible for the positive effect are flavanoids, a natural substance found in almost all fruits and vegetables and phenylethylamine (PEA), an organic compound that stimulates the central nervous system. Chocolate compounds are said to share the same feel-good effects on the brain as cannabis.

The study of nearly 14,000 adults was conducted alongside scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada.

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Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson from UCL said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.”

Writing in the journal Depression and Anxiety, she warned that further research is needed to clarify whether depression causes people to lose interest in eating chocolate, or if there are other reasons people may be less likely to eat dark chocolate and be depressed.

Dark chocolate is linked to a host of health benefits. Some studies have suggested that its high level of antioxidants could help protect against heart disease and cancer, while flavanoids have been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as stabilising the secretion of insulin – thereby lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.

And obviously it’s a bonus that it tastes fantastic.

Image: Nordwood Themes/Charise Kenion/Unsplash

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.

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