Study Finds That Dark Chocolate Improves Calmness

Study Finds That Dark Chocolate Improves Calmness

Health & Medicine
May 6, 2013

A new study has found that eating dark chocolate may increase calmness and contentedness due to the polyphenols found in cocoa.

AsianScientist (May 6, 2013) – A new study from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia has found that eating dark chocolate may increase calmness and contentedness due to the polyphenols found in cocoa.

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, and may also have beneficial psychological effects.

“Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement,” said Matthew Pase, Swinburne PhD candidate and lead author of the study. “This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.”

The research, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, was based on a randomized study involving 72 healthy men and women aged 40-65 years.

The participants each received a dark chocolate drink mix standardized 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 cognitive performance. Additionally, only those who consumed the highest amount of polyphenols (500 mg per day) reported any significant positive effects. Participants who consumed a moderate amount (250 mg per day) reported no significant effects.

The article can be found at: Pase MP et al. (2013) Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

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Source: University of Swineburne; Photo: Kirti Poddar/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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