85% Dark Chocolate scientifically proven to improve mood
Charlie Nadin discusses recent evidence from a study by Seoul National University that shows 85% Dark Chocolate has a positive effect on people’s mood.
Mood disorders are a leading cause of disability worldwide. The role of diet as a mood regulator has received a great deal of interest. Cocoa products contain a number of nutritional compounds that have the potential to affect mood. The mental health benefits of dark chocolate consumption have been reported in several previous studies, however, a study from Seoul National University has found further evidence to confirm these previous claims. There has not been a significant amount of research in this area since most studies investigated its acute effects following experimentally induced psychological stress.
The trial took place over three weeks, with three different control groups: one group who ate 10g of 85% chocolate, three times daily (DC85); one group who ate 10g of 70% chocolate, three times daily (DC85); and a group supplied with no chocolate (CON).
The trial took place over three weeks, with three different control groups
The trial involved 48 participants, chosen for meeting a criterion which covered diet and medical history. The participants were both men and women aged between 20 and 30. The results found that there was no significant differences between the genders.
The findings from the trial suggest that an “intake of dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content has a positive influence on negative emotional states“. While positive affect was not significantly altered, negative affect was – this affect was only significant in the DC85 group while the change in negative affect between the DC70 group compared with the CON group was not significant.
The intake of dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content has a positive influence on negative emotional states
The mood improving effect is proposed to be related to the gut-brain axis. This is because of the changes in the bacterium levels as the authors state “Blautia obeum levels were significantly elevated and Faecalibactrium prausnitzii levels were reduced in the 85% chocolate group compared to the control group.” It was noted that the changes to negative affect negatively correlated with diversity and relative abundance of Blautia obeum, and so it follows that dark chocolate appears to have prebiotic effects “ evidenced by its ability to restructure the diversity and abundance of intestinal bacteria.”