Dark chocolate eliminates symptoms of anxiety and depression: New research

The lockdown saw a surge in the sale of dark chocolates. The reasons are plenty. Read on. 
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

It’s time for sweet news. Dark chocolates have once again been given the nod of approval in eliminating symptoms of anxiety and depression. And in times of looming uncertainly such as these, a bite of decadence can go a long way. This is backed by new research. Habitually consuming dark chocolates can dramatically reduce depressive symptoms in both chronic and provisional sufferers according to a recently published study in the medical journal, Depression and Anxiety.  

It’s no surprise then that while the demand for essential food items surged in the last three months, the sale of chocolates saw a jump too, according to Amul, the dairy cooperative society.  Backing this claim is another study conducted by the University College, London, the University of Calgary, Canada, and Alberta Health Services, Canada, establishing the supremacy of chocolates in preventing depression. The study was done on 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition. Results showed that adults who consumed dark chocolate for 24 hours, exhibited far less depressive symptoms than those who did not.

Certain ingredients present in dark chocolate enhance the functioning of the brain in different ways. “Like Flavanols, a kind of nutrient present in dark chocolates, improves mood and cognition. Acylethanolamines are other ingredients that reduce anxiety and offer a feel-good factor. Phenylethylamine is known to increase the level of happy chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin. These are being seen as some of the factors that have worked well for the high sale of chocolates all through the lockdown,” says Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria of Mind Temple, Mumbai. 

Interestingly, something as simple as cocoa flavanols helps to maintain normal blood pressure, according to the European Food Safety Authority. “This is the easiest way of getting into a good mood. Sweet biscuits also do the trick but chocolates, especially dark ones, are the best bet for getting into a happy mood, ” says Dr Ekta Soni, a senior psychologist at Apollo, Delhi.

And there’s more to it. Several psychoactive ingredients make dark chocolates extremely potent for well-being. Consumption of these gives you the same high as cannabis or marijuana. Phenylethylamine, an ingredient present in dark chocolate is a type of neurone modulator and is believed to help regulate moods swings. “It counters negative thinking patterns too. This especially came in handy in the last three months when people needed that extra boost,” says Dr Poojashivam Jaitly of Ariston Multispeciality Hospital, Delhi. Dark chocolates help cancer patients suffering from anxiety and depression too. It shouldn’t be considered a line of treatment but surely as something that makes things easier.  

“Dark chocolates are good for you. They contain Flavanols, a kind of nutrient, which improves mood and cognition. ”
Dr Anjali Chhabria
Psychiatrist, Mind Temple, Mumbai 

“Several psychoactive ingredients make dark chocolates extremely potent for well-being. They counter negative thinking patterns.” 
Dr Poojashivam Jaitly
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Ariston Multispeciality Hospital, Delhi

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