Study: Eating dark chocolate could improve your mood, reduce depression
A recent study found that eeeating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depression symptoms. The study performed at University College London and published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed. Researchers assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants' chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the patient health questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking, and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate's effect on depressive symptoms. After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70% lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all.
The 25% of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn't eat chocolate at all. However, researchers found no significant link between any non-dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
"This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms. However further research is required to clarify the direction of causation it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed," said the lead author of the study, Dr Sarah Jackson.