Often used as a pick-me-up, chocolate is seen by many as a comfort food. But, does chocolate actually have any impact on a person's mood?
A plethora of studies have been done on whether or not chocolate impacts the mood, and if it does what kind of impact it may have. Research on the topic has been conflicting. Some studies call chocolate's purported mood enhancing benefits “ephemeral” while others conclude that chocolate does indeed have the ability to lift a person's mood.
If a person feels irritable on a regular basis, it can take a toll on their overall health and well-being, affect their productivity at work and even put a strain on relationships. Many people turn to chocolate when they are feeling down, and many of these people claim that they experience an actual improvement in mood.
Should You Eat Chocolate to get rid of bad moods?
The answer is complicated. While chocolate has several health benefits, it can also be bad for those who suffer from irritability. Research continues to be done on the topic, and it seems like we will never get a straight answer.
The answer also becomes more complicated because it depends on what time of chocolate you are consuming. Obviously, eating natural dark chocolate is better than eating a candy bar chock full of other additives and sugar. However, the amount of chocolate you eat and the type of cacao used to make that chocolate can also have an impact.
The main reason behind this is that chocolate is filled with one of the key amino acids for your diet. L-Tryptophan can be described as a building block for protein biosynthesis and is a biochemical precursor. In terms of irritability and mood, it boosts the production of the brain chemical serotonin and regulates your mood.
It has been found that menopausal women who are struggling with depression are likely to be low in serotonin levels. There are many foods that contain this amino acid, but chocolate is one of the more delicious and favorable foods.
Also chocolate is delicious! Many people feel that regardless of the hundreds of compounds found in chocolate, eating a few pieces of the stuff boosts their mood because it tastes delicious and it's nice to indulge once in a while.
It has long been known that people look at chocolate as a mood food, and some claim that the idea of chocolate being good for you is more of a myth than fact. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a caffeine-like stimulant that increases mood - but usually only for a short period of time.
A 2010 study in the U.S. found that the people who ate more chocolate reported a higher level of depression, in comparison with those who didn't. The complete role of chocolate on the body is still unknown, hence the mixed reviews. However, it seems like chocolate is OK to eat as long as it is consumed in moderation.
Everything in moderation is often the word from the doctor. Chocolate does help your mood, that is a fact, but it is a short-term mood enhancer. Consuming a little piece of dark chocolate on a daily basis may boost your mood a little, but it is not enough to make you more irritable. There are several other ways in which women can prevent and help manage their irritability.
- Scholey A. & Owen L. (2013). Effects of chocolate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review. [Abstract]. Nutrition Reviews, 71(10), 665-681.
- Parker, G.; Parkerb, I.; Brotchie, H. (2006). Review: Mood state effects of chocolate. Journal of Affective Disorders. Retrieved from: http://diyhpl.us/~bryan/papers2/neuro/Mood%20state%20effects%20of%20chocolate.pdf