Chocolate is a popular confectionary item that is available in many different forms. One of the main ingredients in chocolate is cocoa, which is made from the beans of the cocoa tree. Cocoa contains several natural chemicals and some people believe that eating chocolate has a beneficial effect on mood.
There are several ways in which chocolate could boost mood.
There have been no scientific studies which look at the effectiveness of chocolate as a treatment for clinical depression. However, some research has looked for links between chocolate consumption and mood.
One study looked at the diets of people with and without depression and found that both people with and without depression ate similar amounts of chocolate. Another study found that people with depression actually consumed more chocolate on average than people without depression.
A review of studies which looked at the effects of chocolate on people’s mood found some weak evidence to suggest that eating chocolate might protect against depression, but the findings were mixed.
Chocolate is high in saturated fats and sugar. Eating too much of this kind of food can increase the risk of heart and other disease. The Australian dietary guidelines recommend that chocolate is only eaten sometimes and in small amounts.
Chocolate is readily available in supermarkets and other shops. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of cocoa.
Given the lack of evidence on chocolate, it cannot be recommended as a treatment for depression.
Last updated and reviewed: 1 May 2019