Why dark cho­co­late makes peo­ple feel calm

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FOOD INDUSTRY -

Re­search from Swin­burne Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy has found that the polyphe­nols in dark cho­co­late in­crease calm­ness and con­tent­ed­ness.

Polyphe­nols are found nat­u­rally in plants and are a ba­sic com­po­nent of the hu­man diet. These com­pounds have been shown to re­duce ox­ida­tive stress, which is as­so­ci­ated with many dis­eases. They may also have ben­e­fi­cial psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects.

“Anec­do­tally, cho­co­late is of­ten linked to mood en­hance­ment,” Swin­burne PhD can­di­date and lead au­thor of the study Matthew Pase said.

“This clin­i­cal trial is per­haps the first to sci­en­tif­i­cally demon­strate the pos­i­tive ef­fects of co­coa polyphe­nols on mood.”

Seventy-two healthy men and women aged 40–65 years took part in the ran­domised study to re­ceive a dark cho­co­late drink mix stan­dard­ised to con­tain ei­ther 500mg of co­coa polyphe­nols, 250mg of co­coa polyphe­nols or no co­coa polyphe­nols. The drink mixes were given to par­tic­i­pants in iden­ti­cal pack­ag­ing so that both the in­ves­ti­ga­tors and par­tic­i­pants were un­aware of which treat­ment they were re­ceiv­ing. Par­tic­i­pants drank their as­signed drink once a day for 30 days.

Af­ter 30 days, those who drank the high dose con­cen­tra­tion of co­coa polyphe­nols re­ported greater calm­ness and con­tent­ed­ness than those who drank ei­ther of the other drink mixes.

The re­searchers failed to find any ev­i­dence that co­coa polyphe­nols sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved cog­ni­tive per­for­mance. Ad­di­tion­ally, only those who con­sumed the high­est amount of polyphe­nols (500mg per day) re­ported any sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive ef­fects. Par­tic­i­pants who con­sumed a mod­er­ate amount (250mg per day) re­ported no sig­nif­i­cant ef­fects. The re­search is pub­lished in the May is­sue of the Jour­nal of Psy­chophar­ma­col­ogy.

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