Study: Dark chocolate calms you down

Last updated 13:15 06/05/2013
MORE THAN A FEELING: "This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood."

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Eating dark chocolate can calm you down according to a new study.

In research from Swinburne University of Technology, polyphenols in dark chocolate have been found to increase calmness and contentedness, reported Science Alert. 

Polyphenols are found naturally in plants, and are a basic part of the human diet. The compound has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with many diseases.

"Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement," Swinburne PhD candidate and lead author of the study Matthew Pase said. 

"This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood."

The study examined 72 healthy men and women aged between 40-65, by giving them a drink mix.

Some of the participants were given a drink with 500 mg of cocoa polyphenols, others were given 250 mg of cocoa polyphenols, and some with no cocoa polyphenols.

They drank the assigned drink once a day for 30 days.

Those who drank the high dose of cocoa reported higher levels of calmness and contentedness than those who drank either of the other drink mixes.

Those who had the 250mg drink each day reported no significant effects, as did those who had no cocoa.

The research failed to find any evidence that cocoa polyphenols significantly improved brain performance.

The researchers said the evidence could be a starting point for looking into whether cocoa could be used to help people with clinical anxiety or depression.

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