IMAGE VIA: LE CLUB DE CACAO
It’s hump day already, and just like you and everybody else probably would, we need a mid-week pick-me-up to stay productive for the rest of the day. Enjoying delicious food is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve our mood. However, one must be responsible about which mood-boosting strategy they choose to apply (a greasy plate of luscious junk food is unfortunately off the list). Luckily, a bar of your favorite dark chocolate is a delicious snack which consumption is recommended by health experts.
A study at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia revealed that chocolate may make you feel calmer and more content due to the effect of polyphenols, an antioxidant found abundantly in dark chocolate. The research team tested their theory on 72 healthy, middle-aged men and women. The result reveals that participants who were fed a dark chocolate drink with 500 mg of polyphenols every day for 30 days reported an improvement in mood and feelings of calmness and contentedness.
The benefit of this delicious super food also does not seem to be limited to mood improvement. Scientists at London’s Kingston University conducted a study by asking nine amateur cyclists to eat a 40g bar of dark chocolate each day for two weeks and then measured their performance. Compared with their baseline scores, dark chocolate consumption increased the distance they were able to travel in a two minute sprint by 17 per cent, or 518 feet (158 m). This time, the contributing substance is epicatechin – a type of flavanol found in the cacao bean, that also increases nitric oxide production in the body. This substance dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption – allowing athletes to go further for longer.
So next time you are thinking to lift up your mood by indulging yourself with a giant pan of pizza or french fries, think again. They might be delicious, but your happiness ends the minute you finish devouring the meal. Instead, grab a bar of delightful dark chocolate, and enjoy its pleasant aftermath.