Dark Chocolate Can Make You Feel Calmer and Happier

© Getty Images / Dorling Kindersley

By Morgan Goldberg Posted March 31, 2016

If science says so, we will eat it.

Did you eat a lot of dark chocolate this Easter? Consider yourself absolved. A new study shows that the antioxidant polyphenol in dark chocolate may make you feel calmer and more content.

Researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia tested their theory on 72 healthy, middle-aged men and women. The participants who were fed a dark chocolate drink with 500 mg of polyphenols every day for 30 days reported an improvement in mood and feelings of calmness and contentedness. Participants who were fed a smaller dose or no polyphenols did not experience these effects.

The study’s lead author, Matthew Pase, explained: “Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement…this clinical trial was perhaps one of the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood.” 

While the validity of this study is based largely on self-reporting, which is not necessarily the most reliable way to gather data, it is pretty much the only way to gather data about mood.

It’s certainly possible that dark chocolate improved participants’ moods simply because it’s delicious, but a clinically-verified reason to eat it makes us feel even better.

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