Stay calm and eat dark chocolate
Feeling stressed? Reach for a piece of dark chocolate. It’s the easy, no-drug solution to soothing frazzled nerves.
People who ate about 1 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate a day for two weeks had lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines, Swiss scientists discovered.
What’s more, dark chocolate triggered the production of serotonin, your “feel-good” hormone. And get this — none of the people in the study experienced bad side effects like a rise in blood sugar. Sweet!
Experts say it has something to do with the wonderful way dark chocolate affects your gut’s bacteria and your body’s metabolism. Not only did everyone in the study feel better, those who felt the highest anxiety levels at the beginning of the study benefitted the most.
Plus, you probably don’t realize stress is the secret cause of excess belly fat, sleeplessness, and high blood pressure. Take a look at what the experts say.
- Anxiety leads to overeating and stress on your metabolism, which boosts belly fat.
- Stress is the No. 1 reason people can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Worry makes your body produce higher levels of stress hormones like epinephrine, which increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure.
Makes you want to nibble a piece right now, doesn’t it? If you want to mimic the Nestle-sponsored study, get dark chocolate with 74 percent cocoa solids. It’s not hard to find — just read labels and look for the percentage of cocoa printed on the package.
And don’t overdo it. Eating dark chocolate means adding fat and calories to your diet. Savor a small 3/4-ounce piece midmorning and mid-afternoon.
Discover the other benefits of chocolate — improved memory, lower blood pressure, better athletic performance — in The Kitchen Table Book 2.
- FC&A Staff Writer