From Our 2009 Archives

Chocolate Soothes the Stressed-Out Soul

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Feeling stressed? A dose of dark chocolate could cheer you right up by lowering your stress hormone levels, a new study suggests.

Swiss researchers, who report their findings in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, tracked volunteers who said they were highly stressed.

"The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers," wrote the researchers, from the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

But won't chocolate make people gain weight? That's certainly possible, but the scientists pointed out that dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health, and other substances that appear to reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions.

But until now, the researchers wrote, not much has been known about how chocolate affects stress.

--Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, Nov. 12, 2009