Top 6 Reasons Dark Chocolate May Be Good for Your Mental Health

The Impact of Mental Health

In a study conducted by Mental Health America (MHA) on The State of Mental Health in America, the leading non-profit in mental health advocacy discovered some troubling statistics regarding mental illness in 2023.

Among the group’s keys findings, they listed:

  • 21% of adults experience depression (50 million people).
  • 15% of adults had struggled with substance abuse in the past year.
  • 55% of adults with mental illness have not received any treatment (28 million people).

While this study assessed the number of individuals reporting mental illness struggles, it does not address some of the health problems caused by mental illness.

Hypertension and heart disease to burnout and fatigue, mental illness can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. While seeking help and guidance from your family physician is the optimal path to take, there are some ways you can start addressing your mental health right away.

In this article, we focus on some of the surprising ways dark chocolate may be good for your mental health.

Why Dark Chocolate May Help You Feel Happier

Many of us already know the warm, fuzzy feeling that nibbling on dark chocolate can give us. But what exactly is it in dark chocolate that elevates your mood? There are actually several components in dark chocolate that may help your mental health and feeling of happiness.

Some of the mood boosting elements found in dark chocolate include:

  • Endorphins- this is one of your ‘feel good’ chemicals, and dark chocolate has been shown to boost its production in the brain. Similar to a ‘runner’s high’, this chemical can help reduce pain and stress.
  • Tryptophan- this amino acid is known to boost feelings of happiness and relaxation.
  • Flavonoids- these amazing compounds have shown they can help increase blood flow to the brain. This helps increase brain function and memory.
  • Antioxidants- the antioxidants found in dark chocolate fend off damaging free radicals, protecting your brain cells.
  • Magnesium- this mineral acts as a suppressant to cortisol and is good for anxiety and stress. 
  • It is good for beneficial gut bacteria- dark chocolate has been shown to increase the level of ‘good bacteria’ in your gut, which directly correlates to brain function and health.

While these are just some of the health boosting benefits of dark chocolate, it comes as no surprise that dark chocolate has been used since ancient times for its mood-boosting properties. But, what evidence supports this?

The Science That Supports Dark Chocolate

Many studies have been conducted to assess the effects of dark chocolate on physical and mental health.

One such study, published by the National Library of Medicine, found that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate showed a greater increase in cardioprotective effects than low flavonoid consumption.

A separate study found that consuming dark chocolate in particular, had decreased the chance of depressive symptoms in healthy adults by 57% after 24 hours. While another study from researchers in Canada found 70% reduction in depressive symptoms when adults consumed dark chocolate in two 24 hour periods.

The Elevated Benefit of Functional Chocolate

While dark chocolate alone may possess many benefits for mental health, it also makes sense to use it as a carrier for other mood enhancing botanicals.

From lemon balm and passion flower, to patented Pharma Gaba® & L-Theanine, the botanicals found in a Carefree Chocolate pack a punch to help you fight off negative feelings and achieve a sense of balance.

Want to see what all the buzz is about?

Order yourself some Carefree Chocolate, or any of our health reality addressing chocolates today!