Health + FitnessMental Health

How is Dark Chocolate Beneficial for Mental Health?

Everybody loves chocolate. That feeling when you bite into a bar of rich chocolate and it melts in your mouth is beyond description. Chocolate is a comfort food for many and always has been. But do you simply feel good when eating chocolate or is it actually doing some good? The answer, as it turns out, is yes!

 

Dark chocolate contains a number of compounds that can have a beneficial effect on the brain and help you maintain your mental well being. Eating chocolate which is high in cocoa content has been linked with a number of positive results for our mental functions.

  1. Chocolate helps in improving memory

Research has now proven that chocolate has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is primarily because of a compound called flavanol which is known to be very beneficial for mental function. Flavanols are a form of flavonoids, plant-based substances that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Reasearch involving flavanol has shown that  it  appears to improve some memory skills that people lose with age.  One 2014 study found that among adults ages 50 to 69, those taking a cocoa supplement with high flavanol content for three months had better performance on tests of memory than those assigned to take a low-flavanol cocoa supplement.

  1. Eating chocolate can also improve mood and cognitive function.

A study conducted in 2011 on healthy adults also reported findings that indicate that cocoa flavanols “positively influence psychological processes.” Researchers say the reason behind this may be that comsumption of cacao flavanols improves increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn improves a number of its functions.

  1. Eating Chocolate makes you happy

That good feeling you get when you eat chocolate is not really imagined. Eating chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins, chemicals that make us feel good. “So we eat chocolate so we release and experience pleasure and so as a result, we crave chocolate” Adam Drewnowski of the University of Michigan has been quoted as saying. “We want chocolate in times of stress, anxiety, pain and so on. Chocolate is a natural analgesic, or pain killer.”

 

  1. Eating chocolate can help improve in concentration.

Chocolate, like both coffee and tea, also has methylxanthines, plant produced compounds that enhance various bodily functions, among them: concentration levels. The main methyxanthine in chocolate is theobromine. Which is the reason why it’s not recommended for dogs. So like you experience with having tea or coffee having chocolate also gives you that feeling of being more alert and being able to concentrate for longer.

 

 

However, please do not take all of the above as permission to have as much chocolate as you want. The first thing to remember is that most of these findings are true for dark chocolate which has high cocoa content. You will not get the same results with milk chocolate or other chocolate which has high sugar content. Even so, please remember that the amount of chocolate you need to eat to get these benefits is not a lot. Too much chocolate is likely to have a detrimental effect on both your body and your mental health. So enjoy your chocolate, but only in moderation!

 

Author bio

Tanya Sen

Tanya Sen quit her well-paying job to follow her dreams and become a writer. She is

now creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations

and individuals. An avid traveller, having visited more than 40 countries. She loves to

cook and try different cuisines. She now lives in Goa, India.

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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the Owner of TWL Working Moms and Co-Owner of Influential Mamas.  Along with blogging + freelance writing, she is a mom, army wife and full-time teacher. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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