Food & Recipes

3 Ways Chocolate Can Help People With Anxiety

Chocolate can help anxiety? It’s true – in moderation, at least, and most studies suggest dark chocolate, not milk or white.

A few years ago, researchers even tested the theory out on 30 people (11 men and 19 women), 13 of whom tested as “high anxiety” and 17 as “low anxiety.” Sunil Kochhar, PhD, head of the BioAnalytical Science Department at the Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, led the study.

The participants were given 40 grams of dark chocolate (approximately 1.5 ounces) with 74% cocoa each day for two weeks. At the end of the trial, blood and urine tests determined that the high anxiety group had lower levels of stress hormones. So, there you have it.

Here are some ways dark chocolate will help curb your anxiety.

Note: I am not a doctor, so I’m not suggesting tossing your antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, but I feel conducting your own chocolate study is certainly worth a try… not to mention delicious!

1. Chocolate Can Increase Levels Of Serotonin

The sugar from chocolate causes serotonin to be released and, if you take antidepressants, you probably know all about serotonin.

People with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders don’t have enough serotonin, resulting in a chemical imbalance.

The Tryptophan (an amino acid that’s a precursor to serotonin) in the dark chocolate will make you sleepy. So, after eating your chocolate bar, you may feel more at peace. Of course, don’t binge on chocolate or else the sugar and caffeine will make you feel anything but calm.

peaceful photo
Photo by DeveionPhotography

2. It May Create An Opiate Effect

Chocolate consumption may result in the brain creating an opiate effect (which can reduce anxiety). And no, don’t worry, chocolate is a mild opiate compared to the others!

peaceful photo
Photo by Ian Sane

3. Magnesium Calms Jitters

Yep, dark chocolate has magnesium, which will help curb your anxiety. If you don’t have enough magnesium, you may be more jittery than someone who does. One ounce of a 70% chocolate bar equates to 65 mg of magnesium.

Yes, lots of fruits and vegetables contain magnesium, too, but doesn’t chocolate taste better?

peaceful photo
Photo by Randy Son Of Robert

So the next time someone is giving you a hard time about eating chocolate, tell them it’s for your health. You won’t be lying!