Friday Factoid: Dark Chocolate and Depression

Rebecca Girlinghouse, MA

WKPIC Doctoral Intern

 

Following Valentine’s Day, there are massive sales on chocolate, and if you’re anything like me, you took full advantage of that fact.  Further sweetening this post-Valentine’s Day deal is a recent survey of over 13,000 adults that found dark chocolate actually helps fight symptoms of depression.  More specifically, results of the study found that those who had eaten dark chocolate within the past day were 70% less likely to report symptoms of depression.  However, this effect appears to be specific to dark chocolate, as the same effect was not found for those who ate milk chocolate.  Further, other factors such as diet or exercise were removed from the equation, indicating that dark chocolate indeed seemed to be the cause for less depression.

 

Additionally, there’s some good news for those of you who may be weary of eating too much chocolate and ruining those New Year’s resolutions: not much dark chocolate is needed to benefit from its natural antidepressant qualities.  The study found that the average amount of dark chocolate consumed was less than half an ounce of chocolate containing 45% cocoa.  This means that if you eat dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa, you can eat less of it and still benefit.

 

Of course, as with most things, too much can be detrimental.  Further, it is always good to keep in mind that there are some people who did not benefit from dark chocolate, so don’t fret if it  isn’t for you or if you don’t feel the antidepressant effects.  There are many positive ways out there to reduce feelings of sadness and depression.  However, it’s nice to know you don’t have to feel guilty about capitalizing on those fantastic February 15th sales.

 

References

Jackson, S.E., Smith, L., Firth, J., Grabovac, I., Soysal, P., Koyanagi, A., Hu, L., Stubbs, B., Demurtas, J., Veronese, N., Zhu, X., & Yang, L. (2019). Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression? A cross-sectional survey of 13,626 US adults. Depression and Anxiety, 36(10), 987-995.

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