A small study from Korea is reporting that consuming about one-third of an ounce of dark chocolate containing 85 percent cocoa three times daily modestly decreased self-reported indicators of negative mood .
The study included 48 healthy men and women ages, 20 to 30 without depression and reported that consuming about one-third of an ounce of dark chocolate containing 85 percent cocoa three times daily for three weeks modestly decreased self-reported indicators of negative mood compared to a control group that did not consume chocolate.
However, dark chocolate did not increase self-reported indicators of positive mood.
Of interest, consumption of the same amount of dark chocolate made with a lower percentage of cocoa, 70 percent cocoa, had no effect on mood.
Recently, a placebo-controlled study of healthy adults in the UK found dark chocolate was associated with a reduction in stress hormones and a greater improvement in mood, while a U.S. study of over 13,000 adults also reported that people who consumed small amounts of dark chocolate had 70 percent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who did not consume dark chocolate.
These associations do not exist for non-dark chocolate consumption (such as milk chocolate or white chocolate).
One possible explanation is that the 85 percent cocoa dark chocolate led to positive changes in the presence and diversity of bacteria in the gut that are associated with a decrease in negative moods.
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