Chocolate Consumption in a Crisis and its Calming Effects

Thinking about you in this scary time. Stay safe. Lock your door. Eat chocolate.

This message was written to me on my Facebook wall by a friend on Friday who was aware of the lockdown happening in Boston. I assured her that my roommates and I, along with my visiting Chocolate Companion, were indeed doing everything on that list.

In a text message exchange with another friend who lives in the neighborhood, when asked if we were all staying at home inside, I replied:

“Yes, we have a cuddle pit, lots of chocolate, and chains on the doors.”

“Haha, you’re well prepared for a crisis.”

“I find that chocolate is good to have in any situation–emergencies, celebrations, Wednesday afternoons, etc.”

As it turns out, we really were just making sure we were taking care of ourselves, and having chocolate around can be a big help. In next month’s issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a group of  researchers have found evidence that strongly suggests that the polyphenols found in cocoa have a positive impact on mood in healthy individuals.

“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized, controlled trial to substantiate the effects of cocoa polyphenols on positive mood states in a non-clinical sample,” said Matthew P. Pase of Swinburne University in Australia and his colleagues in their soon-to-be-published study.

By 7 a.m. the morning of the lockdown, the Chocolate Companion had already began administering chocolate first aid.

By 7 a.m. the morning of the lockdown, the Chocolate Companion had already begun administering chocolate first aid.

The findings are encouraging enough to call for more research into whether or not those compounds can help with clinical depression. Some research has already found that dark chocolate could improve mental functioning by increasing blood flow to the brain, leading many to believe that consuming dark chocolate can also help reduce feelings of anxiety.

Chocolate at the start of the lockdown.

Chocolate at the start of the lockdown.

Chocolate at the start of the lockdown.

Chocolate at the start of the lockdown.

Chocolate by the end of the lockdown.

Chocolate by the end of the lockdown.

Chocolate by the end of the lockdown.

Chocolate by the end of the lockdown.

So, in light of all this, it seems positively therapeutic, nay, medicinal to eat chocolate during a citywide lockdown, or any other emergency or stressful situation, as the chocolate should have a calming effect. It certainly didn’t hurt us in our situation on Friday.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… chocolate makes everything better.