The Candy That Calms

Date:11-05-2013 07:50:19 read:6

Let dark chocolate lift you up.

Do you ever crave a candy bar when you’re stressed? It could be for a good reason: Dark chocolate may calm you down, says a new study from the Swinburne University of Technology.

In a recent experiment, people consumed a chocolate drink mixed with either 500, 250, or zero milligrams of cocoa polyphenols once a day for 30 days. At the end of the study, those who drank the highest dose said they felt more calm and complacent, while the lower-dose drinkers reported no changes in mood.

The reason: Polyphenols found naturally in dark chocolate respond to brain receptors associated with anxiety. Those same receptors are also targeted with the common anxiety medication benzodiazepines, which may function through a similar biological system as polyphenols, the study authors say.

How can you get the same effect? Here’s a rule of thumb: Look for dark bars with the highest percentage of cocoa you can find. “The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more polyphenols the chocolate will contain,” says study author Matthew Pase, a Ph.D. candidate at Swinburne.

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    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013