I've been eating a couple of pieces of 73% dark organic chocolate most days for quite a while. This new research suggests that I am getting more than the antioxidant (and tastiness) benefits. I may also being reducing the levels of stress hormones in my body, and that can go a long way toward better health in general, not to mention feeling better emotionally.
Anxiety / Stress
There may well be another important reason for giving your sweetheart sweets for Valentine's Day besides the traditional romantic one: The "chocolate cure" for emotional stress is now getting new support from a clinical trial published online in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research. It found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed. Everyone's favorite treat also partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances.
Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions. Studies also suggest that chocolate may ease emotional stress. Until now, however, there was little evidence from research in humans on exactly how chocolate might have those stress-busting effects.
In the study, scientists identified reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks. "The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers," the scientists say.
Source: American Chemical Society (ACS)