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Dark Chocolate and Its Surprising Mental Health Benefits:

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Living in a fast-paced world can often take a toll on our mental health, leaving us vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Interestingly, there are some natural remedies that can support your journey towards improved well-being. One such surprising ally in the battle against anxiety and depression is dark chocolate. Beyond its delectable taste, dark chocolate possesses a range of mental health benefits that can aid in alleviating symptoms and promoting overall mental wellness. In this article, we'll explore the wonders of dark chocolate and its potential role in supporting mental health.

Dark Chocolate

The Quality of Dark Chocolate Matters

Before diving into the mental health benefits, it's important to highlight that not all chocolate is created equal. When it comes to reaping the therapeutic advantages, it's crucial to opt for high-quality dark chocolate. Look for varieties with a high percentage of cocoa, ideally above 70%. Such dark chocolate is richer in antioxidants, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds that contribute to its mental health properties.

Mental Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

1. Mood Enhancement: Dark chocolate contains compounds that trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, also known as "feel-good" hormones. These endorphins promote feelings of happiness, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

2. Stress Reduction: The consumption of dark chocolate has been linked to a reduction in stress levels. It helps regulate cortisol, a stress hormone, thus promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation.

3. Cognitive Function Improvement: Dark chocolate is known to enhance cognitive function, including focus, attention, and memory. It contains flavonoids that stimulate blood flow to the brain, improving overall cognitive performance.

4. Antioxidant Power: Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. By reducing oxidative stress, it indirectly supports mental well-being.

Recommended Amount

While dark chocolate can be beneficial for mental health, moderation is key. Consuming large quantities may lead to weight gain and other health issues. A recommended portion size is approximately 28 grams per day. Remember to choose dark chocolate with minimal added sugar and enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have specific health conditions or concerns.

Seek Professional Help

While dark chocolate can provide some mental health benefits, it is important to remember that it is not a substitute for professional help. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health concerns, it is vital to reach out to a qualified therapist or counsellor for personalised guidance and evidence-based therapies to address your specific needs.

Make an Appointment Today

If you're seeking support for anxiety, depression, or any mental health issues, I encourage you to take the first step towards healing. Life in Balance offers compassionate and effective counselling and nutritional therapies to help you regain control of your mental well-being. Contact us today on 1300 232 166 or book online to schedule an appointment and embark on your journey towards a happier and healthier life.

Reference List:

1. Parker G., et al. (2015). Chocolate craving when depressed: A personality marker. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 54(3), 360-372.

2. Pase, M. P., et al. (2013). Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(5), 451-458.

3. Socci, V., et al. (2017). Consumption of dark chocolate in relation to cognitive function in the elderly: A systematic review

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