Dark chocolate and anxiety – these two words have been connected for decades. According to some people, chocolate can reduce anxiety and some others say the opposite. For decades, people have been finding this answer but there is no specific answer as the reaction of this particular food in the body is something very complex.
Dark Chocolate effects on mental health
Well, we all know less or more what are the effects of this on our body but few people think what can affect our mental health. For some people, it can help reduce stress, depression and make them feel good, but for some people, it does the opposite. It can make them anxious, paranoid ( A specific mental condition in which a person feels extremely angry as well as depressed) and even depressed. These things happen because of the presence of psychoactive compounds in dark chocolate.
So, what do psychoactive compounds mean?
In simple words, psychoactive compounds are elements that directly affect the brain and changes how it works. These compounds can change the mood, feelings, thoughts, reactions etc. It also can change hormonal balance as it can affect our master gland (pituitary gland) also. Drugs, caffeine, anaesthesia etc are examples of these components.
Our bodies reflect what our brains direct. The sensation of pain, anger, feelings, thoughts and everything else are directed by our brains. These components change the working process of how our brains work. Such as pain killer do. They work on our brain and stop it to feel the sensation of injury. Marijuana, alcohol and other substances are also examples of psychoactive components.
Why does the effect of dark chocolate on mental health defer from person to person?
Psychoactive drugs change the working system of our brains works but they can not decide how it would work. Like alcohol, some people may feel joyful after consuming it and some people can experience an emotional breakdown after consumption. The same thing happens with dark chocolate but in a way lesser compared to psychoactive drugs.
What psychoactive compounds does dark chocolate have?
Polyphenol and Tryptophan are the main two psychoactive compounds that are found in dark chocolate. Though most of the previous studies have shown that these compounds help to enhance calmness and affect positively anxiety, in some cases, the reactions were opposite.
Relation between anxiety and dark chocolate?
So, though their relationship is a little complicated, it is positive in 80% of cases. Besides these compounds, Chocolate contains
- Theobromine – an ingredient that is proven effective to lift the mood.
- Magnesium – This nutrition has a significant effect on anxiety.
- Calories – Whether it is fatigue, low blood pressure, tiredness, it can bring you instant energy to rejuvenate your mind and body.
There are also some feel-good chemicals in the brain that is linked with dark chocolate consumption. They are – Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and oxytocin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is responsible for the secretion of Serotonin.
So, you can have a question: if most of the elements that dark chocolate has, increase the happy feeling, how can it be bad for anxiety?
The answer is when the psychoactive compounds react in the exact opposite way, then a person can act paranoid, depressed and stressed out. Don’t be disappointed as this happens in rare cases.
Besides that, daily consumption of milk chocolate can worsen your situation as it doesn’t have any nutritional value and contains a lot of sugar.
Which chocolate can increase the risk of negative effects on anxiety?
Though it is odd, chocolates that include caffeine can increase the risk. Coffee’s effects on our health are not always positive. It also has a big impact on our mental health and consumption of caffeine for a long time can cause depression and other mental issues. On the other hand, milk chocolates, especially white chocolate can be a treat to your demon as they have a high amount of sugar content.
Why can chocolates that contain a high amount of sugar can worsen the situation?
Previous studies have shown that sugar is linked with depression, mood swings and other mental health issues. If you are dealing with it, try to replace sugar with honey or other alternatives. You can try having lemon and honey water each morning as it helps to rejuvenate cells.
Some tips to overcome anxiety
1. Drink enough water
Drinking enough water is important to keep your physical health as well as mental health stable. Try to drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water every day.
2. Have enough nutrition in your diet
You must be having enough nutrition in your diet. It should include enough protein, calories, and other essential nutrition in your diet. Nutrition deficiency or imbalance also can cause mental health issues. You can check your daily nutrition with a nutrition tracker. I highly suggest this nutrition tracker for keeping a record of your daily nutrition.
3. Work out
Working out and physical fitness also can help as a healthy mind always lives in a healthy body. Have a fitness tracker to keep a record. I suggest Oneplus fitness tracker as it doesn’t only track fitness but your sleeping habits and other important things. It is an all in one fitness tracker that you can use.
4. Increase your self-confidence
Increase your self-confidence by communicating with people and believing in yourself. It is an important step to overcome anxiety.
Mental health issues can disturb your confidence. You can read books and play games like chess or sudoku to increase your concentration.
6. Food items
Some food items, especially ginger helps to reduce anxiety. As it is not easy to have ginger without bothering the nutrition values, you can make sweet ginger candies as they are both healthy and tasty. Besides that, you can have dark chocolate, hazzlenuts etc.
Nothing can affect your mental health if you take care of it. Follow your goals, spend time with yourself, spend time with your loved ones as well as your passion. These are the most important steps of well being. Mental health is passively connected with mental health. In upcoming blogs, we’ll discuss the other food items that can affect your mental health in several ways. For now, share your thoughts on this article based on dark chocolate and anxiety.