Chocoholics rejoice! Eating just 10g of 85% dark chocolate three times a day makes you HAPPIER, study finds 

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  • Scientists found that people who ate 30 grams of 85% chocolate per day had an improvement in their mood.
  • It is thought that the improvement in mood was linked to microbial changes in the gut
  • But people should consume healthy chocolate like milk chocolate in small amounts.

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Many of us reach for a bar of chocolate when we’re feeling down, but according to a new study, certain squares of dark chocolate can actually lift our mood.

Researchers in Korea found that healthy adults who ate a total of 30 grams of 85 percent dark chocolate per day were happier than healthy adults who ate chocolate with less cocoa, or no chocolate at all.

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Thirty grams is about a third of a 100-gram rectangle of posh dark chocolate you can find at the supermarket.

It is believed that the improvement in mood was linked to microbial changes in the gut from eating chocolate, fecal samples suggested.

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However, benefits were only found from eating chocolate containing 85 percent cacao – not popular milk chocolate treats like Cadbury’s and Nestle, which should be eaten in moderation.

Chocolate products with a high cocoa percentage are better for you because they contain less sugar, fat and other additives such as coloring and palm oil.

Researchers in Korea examined the effects of dark chocolate consumption on mood in everyday life. they found 85 percent

What is 85 percent dark chocolate?

85 percent dark chocolate means that 85 percent of the product is made from cacao plant matter.

The remaining 15 percent consists of sugar, vanilla and other extracts.

It has a strong aroma and full bodied cocoa taste.

Milk chocolate is made from cocoa beans, cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder.

By law in the US, a milk chocolate bar must contain only 10 percent cocoa; In the European Union this number is 20 percent.

Source: Cocoa Magazine

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The cacao used in the production of chocolate is rich in fiber, iron and ‘phytochemicals’ – powerful chemical compounds found in plants that help support the immune system and reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, dementia, arthritis, heart disease and stroke. Known to reduce ,

The new study was carried out by researchers from the Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Seoul National University.

They claim that until now little is known about the emotional effects of daily consumption of dark chocolate.

They say in their research paper, ‘Dark chocolate has long been recognized for its mood-altering properties.

‘However, the evidence regarding the emotional effects of daily dark chocolate consumption is limited.

‘To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence that dark chocolate consumption in everyday life affects physiological and psychological states.’

For the study, researchers worked with 46 participants who ate 30 grams per day of 85 percent cacao chocolate, 30 grams per day of 70 percent cacao chocolate, or no chocolate every day for three weeks.

In the study, only eating chocolate containing 85 percent cocoa was found to have mood benefits -- not the popular milk chocolate treats.  Note the difference between chocolate products made with a higher percentage of cocoa (as seen here above right) and those made with sugar, fat, and additives like palm oil, cornstarch, and dyes.

In the study, only eating chocolate containing 85 percent cocoa was found to have mood benefits — not the popular milk chocolate treats. Note the difference between chocolate products made with a higher percentage of cocoa (as seen here above right) and those made with sugar, fat, and additives like palm oil, cornstarch, and dyes.

Participants’ mood states were measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), a psychological scale consisting of 20 adjectives that indicate positive or negative mood states.

Participants were asked to rate their feelings for each adjective on a scale of one (very little or no at all) to five (extremely).

To assess the association between dark chocolate and the mood-altering effects of the gut microbiota, the participants’ stools were also analyzed.

The study found that dark chocolate consumption resulted in a reduction in negative mood in 85 percent of the cocoa group, but not in 70 percent of the group.

Fecal samples showed that the gut microbial diversity was significantly higher in the 85 percent cocoa group than in the control group.

The cocoa used in the production of chocolate is rich in fiber, iron and 'phytochemicals'.  Milk chocolate products contain less cocoa

The cocoa used in the production of chocolate is rich in fiber, iron and ‘phytochemicals’. Milk chocolate products contain less cocoa

The 85 percent group had higher levels of Blautia, a type of gut bacteria, that was significantly associated with positive changes in mood scores.

It is possible that the mood-altering effect of 85 percent dark chocolate consumption is ‘mediated by changes in the diversity and abundance of intestinal bacteria’, the researchers report.

Previous research has shown that the microbiota of healthy controls is higher in blotchia than patients with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Studies have shown that reduced bacterial diversity increases the likelihood of several diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders.

The study has been published in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry,

A Sweet Deal! Health benefits of dark chocolate can make milk chocolate

For years we have been told that dark chocolate is better for us.  But scientists have good news - they have found a way to make milk chocolate healthier (file photo)

For years we have been told that dark chocolate is better for us. But scientists have good news – they have found a way to make milk chocolate healthier (file photo)

For years we’ve been told that dark chocolate is better for us. But scientists have found a way to make milk chocolate healthier.

Dark chocolate, which typically has a more bitter taste, contains phenolic compounds that may act as an antioxidant.

It has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of heart disease.

In 2020, researchers working for the US government discovered how to incorporate these benefits into milk chocolate by adding peanut peel extract—usually peanut butter—and leftovers when making sweets.

It boosts antioxidant levels while maintaining the sweet taste and creamy texture of chocolate.

From team…

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