Berlin, Germany—Many people turn to chocolate as a feel-good treat during stressful times. Well, the “Ahh…that’s better” effect of chocolate isn’t psychological; it’s biological, according to research published in the Journal of Proteome Research.

Researchers gave 30 individuals with low to high anxiety dark chocolate (1.4 ounces) every day for two weeks. The group gave blood and urine samples at three points during the study and found that those with high anxiety excreted less cortisol and catecholamines in their urine. Since the body excretes these hormones during highly stressful times, the research suggests that the subjects responded differently to anxiety during the chocolate-eating period. In addition, the group stated that dark chocolate helped correct stress-related biochemical imbalances in energy metabolism (glycine, citrate, trans-aconitate, proline, b-alanine) and gut microbial activities (hippurate and p-cresol sulfate).


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2010