The Unexpected Link Between Dark Chocolate And Depression

Affecting an estimated 280 million people around the globe, depression is an incredibly common condition that can range from mild to severe (via World Health Organization). According to Healthline, symptoms of depression vary from person to person and may include persistent feelings of extreme sadness, worthlessness, and a sense of feeling empty — as well as a lack of energy and an inability to concentrate. Depression can also affect your physical health, potentially causing headaches and stomach problems. People with depression may also experience issues with their sleep — either not sleeping enough or sleeping too much. While it's normal to sometimes experience feelings of hopelessness or sadness, depression occurs when this becomes your dominant state of being.

Living with depression can be incredibly challenging, but there are a variety of treatment options that may help. There are many medication options available that have been proven to help decrease depression symptoms as well as different kinds of therapy that can offer coping strategies to help you heal. There are even foods that may help reduce symptoms of depression. According to new research, those living with depression may also find relief from an unexpected source: chocolate.

Dark chocolate can ease depression symptoms

No longer just a post-dinner treat, chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has been found to boost your mood and decrease feelings of depression (via Science Daily). A 2019 study looked at the chocolate consumption of 13,626 participants over two 24-hour periods and found that those who ate dark chocolate during that time were 70% less likely to report symptoms of depression. Researchers also found that participants who ate the most of any kind of chocolate were also not as likely to report feeling depressed.

Why might chocolate have such a positive effect on depression? According to Science Daily, the answer lies in the compounds that it contains. Dark chocolate has certain ingredients that may boost feelings of well-being, including antioxidants called flavonoids which can help to lower inflammation (and therefore depression). It also contains phenylethylamine, which is known to help balance your moods.

While more research into the relationship between dark chocolate and depression is needed, you may want to try it for yourself if your mental health is in need of some TLC.