Chocolate and depression: a two-way street

donutsWhat do you do when you feel down and depressed? I know what I do: I go to the closest store and stock up on chocolate and ice cream! It’s something in the creamy texture and nutty flavor that makes me feel comforted and a bit better about my current situation. Actually, chocolate is known as one of the most popular comfort foods out there. You can even say it goes hand in hand with fried foods and glazed .

And we don’t just crave chocolate when we’re down. Women use it to feel better about themselves during days with PMS, and couples use it as a mood enhancer during intimate times. As you can see, chocolate is by our side regardless of the situation.

Why do we eat chocolate when we’re depressed?

According to studies, it has something to do with the sweet taste (this means sugar) but it also has something to do with the cocoa content. The flavonoids contained in the cocoa bean and the available nutrients and vitamins in dark chocolate (this is the most recommended type) will enhance your mood. This leads to increased self-esteem and a general feeling of well-being.

Even more, recent studies have shown that a daily consumption of chocolate regulates blood pressure and brings in a healthy dose of antioxidants. The trick however, is to eat a bit every day, and try to avoid consuming large amounts at once.

The two-way street

Yes, chocolate is healthy, but we also need to keep in mind that it’s still high in calories. Even dark chocolate has sugar and cocoa butter in its recipe, which make it a bit of a caloric bomb. That’s why scientists can’t emphasize enough on the word ‘moderation’. Considering the delicious flavor and the fact that we love chocolate, it’s extremely easy to overeat it. This leads to weight gain which leads to depression and frustration. Now you see why I say it’s a two-way street?

When we try to lift our mood and forget that chocolate shouldn’t be eaten all at once, we set ourselves up for a new road to depression. For some people, the new down state may start when they notice the extra weight while for others it may start a few minutes after eating the chocolate when they realize how many calories they added to their daily diet. Regardless of the moment in time, binge eating chocolate is never a good thing (even though you feel good for the moment).