An assortment of chocolates

Research Backs 'Chocolate Cure' for Stress

Here at the epicenter of the holidays and the final throes of what was, for many, one of the most stressful years on record, comes good news -- and it arrives from the American Chemical Society, not the North Pole nor, unfortunately, the White House. According to ACS, results from a recent study show that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduces levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed.

The society published its "chocolate cure" online in ACS's Journal of Proteome Research. Reportedly, clinical trials reveal growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions, as well as emotional stress. The study also found that dark chocolate increased the metabolism of participants. Other studies have reported that dark chocolate can function as a painkiller.

In the study, titled "Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects," scientists identify reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks. The scientists say their research "provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers."

To download the article, go to http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/pr900607v. Happy holidays!

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