Did you know chocolate can help reduce stress, improve mood?

Eating a chocolate bar when stressed can help you reduce stress and balance emotions. Studies show that the rich antioxidant content in chocolate brings many benefits to both physical and mental health.

eat chocolate to reduce stress
Eating chocolate is really effective in reducing stress thanks to its rich antioxidant content

Does eating chocolate really help reduce stress?

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cocoa tree with a characteristic aroma and bitter taste. To enhance the taste, chocolate is often combined with dried milk and nuts. It can be said that this is one of the foods that are loved by both children and adults. In addition to the delicious taste, chocolate is also popularly used for its many health benefits.

Chocolate provides the body with abundant energy along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The ingredients in this food have been shown to boost the immune system, improve memory and protect heart health. Another effect of chocolate that few people know is to reduce stress and improve mood.

The abundant flavonoid content in chocolate has anti-inflammatory effects and improves the function of the central nervous system. When measuring the EEG of people who used 48g of dark chocolate (about 70% of cocoa), the experts found that the brain frequency and especially the beneficial gamma frequency increased significantly. Although it is only a preliminary study, it partly shows the effectiveness of chocolate in reducing stress and enhancing memory.

Experts also found that the flavonoids in chocolate help reduce levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone increases dramatically when under stress, causing both mental and physical health to take a heavy hit. Research shows that flavonoid-rich foods including chocolate can reduce cortisol and catecholamine levels, thereby effectively relieving stress.

Although the studies have only been done on a small scale, they do show some of the effectiveness of chocolate in reducing stress and depression. Moreover, many people notice a marked improvement in mood after eating a chocolate bar or drinking a drink or dish made from this food.

Effects of chocolate on mood

Adding chocolate to the diet helps improve mood and reduce stress effectively. Currently, experts have identified three mechanisms in chocolate’s stress-reducing effect, including:

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1. Increase serotonin to create a feeling of happiness

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates emotions, appetite, sleep, and plays an important role in many other bodily functions. When receiving pleasure, serotonin is activated and released. In contrast, if you are constantly under stress and pressure, serotonin levels tend to decrease significantly.

chocolate reduces stress
Chocolate provides the body with a large amount of tryptophan, thereby increasing the production of serotonin and bringing a feeling of joy and comfort.

Serotonin is made from tryptophan, an amino acid found in many foods. Chocolate is a food rich in tryptophan, so adding this food regularly will help increase serotonin and improve mood. Reducing serotonin levels has been linked to stress, depression, anxiety, etc. By maintaining a stable serotonin, you can protect your health and prevent psychological and neurological problems.

2. Increased opiate helps fight anxiety

Opiates are chemicals produced by the brain to relieve pain, anxiety, and stress. However, opiate intake can decrease due to the effects of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. Eating chocolate regularly will stimulate the brain to produce opiates to help relax and release negative emotions.

In addition, chocolate also contains two cannabinoids, N-linoleoyl havoline and N-oleo ethanolamine, which produce anandamide. This substance has effects similar to opiates with the effect of reducing stress, creating a feeling of comfort and pleasure. However, you should not be too worried because the concentration of anandamide produced is relatively low.

Many studies show that supplementing with chocolate and cocoa-based dishes can reduce the level of headaches, neck pain and other chronic pain.

3. Stable mood with abundant magnesium content

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the body, especially for mental health. Adequate magnesium intake will help stabilize the activity of neurotransmitters, thereby improving anxiety, agitation and stress.

If you are often stressed, you should add chocolate and magnesium-rich foods to your daily diet. After just a few weeks, stress and depression will be markedly reduced.

Eating chocolate properly helps to reduce stress and tension

Eating chocolate is really effective in reducing stress and improving mood. However, in addition to antioxidants, chocolate also contains mild stimulant ingredients such as theobromine and caffeine. Therefore, it is not possible to add chocolate as comfortably as ordinary foods.

If you intend to eat chocolate for the purpose of reducing stress and improving your mood, you should note the following issues:

1. Should choose dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than milk chocolate. Therefore, you should choose dark chocolate if you want to relieve stress and repel negative emotions. However, if you can’t eat the bitter taste, you can still choose chocolates with moderate milk content.

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Basically, chocolate is an energy-rich food. Therefore, if choosing chocolate contains too much sugar and milk, the body is prone to gain weight. In addition, you should also pay attention to choose chocolate from reputable brands to make sure you buy the right chocolate made from pure cocoa.

2. Supplement with moderate dosage

Chocolate contains a lot of energy, so it is easy to cause overweight, bloating, and bloating. In addition, the stimulants in this food also cause harm to health if added in too much. According to nutrition experts, every day should only use 20-30g of dark chocolate.

chocolate reduces stress
Only eat from 20 to 30g of dark chocolate per day to avoid overweight, obesity and digestive disorders

Eating too much chocolate can cause digestive upset and discomfort. This habit even increases stress and anxiety levels. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the dosage when adding chocolate to your diet.

3. Eat chocolate at the right time

Chocolate contains caffeine (depending on cocoa content) – a central nervous system stimulant. To avoid insomnia, you should add chocolate in the early morning or afternoon on an empty stomach. The amount of caffeine in this food will help you maintain alertness, clarity and at the same time provide the body with an abundant source of energy.

In addition, you can also drink hot chocolate or use dishes made from cocoa. However, it is necessary to calculate calories to avoid being overweight. At the same time, you should limit the use of too much milk and sugar in dishes because sugar can increase anxiety and stress levels.

4. Balance chocolate with other foods

Chocolate is really effective in reducing stress, creating a feeling of relaxation and euphoria. However, this effect only works when you balance it with other foods. In the case of disordered eating, often forgetting to eat or eating a lot of fast food, the use of chocolate does not help at all in reducing stress.

Besides chocolate and cocoa-based dishes and drinks, you should add green vegetables, tubers, fruits, nuts, fish and yogurt. Balanced diet menu will help improve mood and improve overall health.

5. Some other notes

When you intend to use chocolate to reduce stress, you should also note the following issues:

chocolate reduces stress
Can process drinks and dishes from chocolate to increase taste and reduce stress effectively
  • People with diabetes, obesity and dyslipidemia should consult their doctor before consuming chocolate.
  • Chocolate has many health benefits. However, if you intend to use it for a long time, you should choose low-sugar chocolate to limit health problems.
  • In addition to eating chocolate directly, you can also diversify your menu by adding chocolate to drinks (milkshakes, smoothies), making chocolate cakes, etc. Changing the recipe regularly will help you. Eat more enjoyable and create a feeling of relaxation, effective stress reduction.
  • In fact, the stress-reducing effect and the benefits of chocolate only bring about long-term use. Therefore, you should incorporate some ways to help relieve stress such as deep breathing, yoga, rest, massage, herbal bath, etc.
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Chocolate is a food that has the ability to reduce stress and improve mood. However, this food should be supplemented properly to bring the desired benefits and avoid affecting health. In addition, you should also equip yourself with relaxation measures to effectively reduce stress.

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