Stressed Out? Eat Dark Chocolate, Researchers Suggest

Join the conversation. What is your favorite way to consume dark chocolate or cacao? Talk to us.

In recent years, one study after another has shown that dark chocolate can be healthy for you.

Cacao beansNow, Swiss scientists have discoverd that it can be helpful to eat 50 milligrams of dark chocolate two hours before a stressful event.

In short, dark chocolate can soothe your stress!

Pretty cool, eh?

Specifically, the new study, which was published in the Journal of the American Colllege of Cardiology, reveals that dark chocolate blunted increases in cortisol and epinephrine. 

Cortisol, as you may already know, is often called the stress hormone, and epinephrine — which is better known as adrenaline — is a hormone released by the adrenal glands and its major action, together with noradrenaline, is to prepare you for your infamous fight or flight response.

Of course, that fight-or-flight reaction helps us humans, as well as animals, to mobilize our energy rapidly so we can deal with threats to our survival.

Meanwhile, as resarchers have been finding for years, dark chocolate — but not sugar-laden milk chocolate or white chocolate — is healthy in at least 9 other ways, too.

For example:

  1. Dark chocolate is nutritious, containing such goodies as fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, as AuthorityNutrition.com points out.
  2. It can lessen cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods. That's certainly good news for sugar addicts.
  3. Dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants. One study even called cacao  a "super fruit" and found that it contains more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.
  4. Dark chocolate may lower your risk for cardiovascular disease;
  5. And it may improve your brain function.
  6. It can even boost enhance your coronary circulation.
  7. It also raises HDL (the good stuff) and lowers LDL
  8. Plus, dark chocolate has achieved recognition as an anti-depressant and mood leveler.
  9. Dark chocolate may protect your skin aginst the sun.

Cacao-powderNow, please bear in mind that I'm not urging you to rush out and get sugar-filled chocolate!

Ideally, you want to eat dark chocolate hat has a high cacao content, is high in fat (yes!), and low in sugar.

To get some guidance on what to get, check out Mark's Daily Apple's wonderful review of the 5 best dark chocolate bars.

Now, if you're really into being sugar-free, I highly recommend that you nibble on unprocessed cacao beans (it goes great with nuts).

Or you can use cacao powder to make a healthy smoothie.

In fact, every morning I add 2 or 3 tablespoons of organic cacao powder from either Navitas Naturals or Sun Foods in my sugar-free, super-healthy Cacao-Chia-Protein Smoothie. (Stay tuned, because I'll post a recipe sometime.)

Anyhow, it's exciting to discover that cacao also can help you deal with stress.

Join the conversation. What is your favorite way to consume dark chocolate or cacao? Talk to us

Sugar was once my go-to "drug." Now, I'm an ex-sugar-addicted journalist. ALL 44 of my baffling ailments vanished after I reluctantly kicked the sweet stuff and quickie carbs in 1998. Now, I’m author of the expose, Sugar Shock (Berkley Books, 2006) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House, 2012), which gives you a simple, proven plan to kick sweets. My next book, Crush Your Crazy Cravings™ -- which I'm now completing -- will give you easy, tested tools to squash your cravings for sugar, salt and fatty foods. I’m also a motivational speaker, certified life coach, certified health coach, media guest, and Gab with the Gurus host. I'm also organizer for the upcoming Sugar World Summit. Let’s connect on social media!

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