Is anxiety treatment the area of a medical doctor to prescribe you that little pill? This is not always the case. Are you like the majority of people who gets a happy mood boost whenever you enjoy a bar of chocolate? Then believe it – there is a chemical reason! So help yourself against your anxiety and make yourself feel good once again … and yes, reach for that chocolate bar.
The New Anxiety Treatment Drug
More and more health information is being shown that chocolate not only makes you feel good, but is good for your mind and body as well. In fact a study in the American Chemical Society (ACS) showed that one-and-a-half ounces of dark chocolate a day for 2 weeks reduced stress hormone levels. It was found that the highly stressed volunteers of the study had lower levels of the ‘fight-or’flight’ stress hormone, cortisol at the end of the study. Why Dark Chocolate is Good for Anxiety Treatment and for You? Not only is dark chocolate a few delicious moments of indulgence, it now has been proven that it consists of five chemical compounds that may be good for you.
- Dark chocolate contains resveratrol which not only protects your brain and nervous system, but actually prolongs your life
- Dark chocolate provides antioxidant polyphenols that neutralize free radicals which can reduce processes associated with the developments of chronic, degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer
- Dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which have been shown to produce higher levels of physical energy and mental alertness while at the same time lowering blood pressure in women. Health information studies also show that this caffeine component can also reduce inflammation in the brain that causes migraines.
- Dark chocolate contains epicatechin which may protect the brain from injuries such as strokes
- Dark chocolate contains anandadamide which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and anxiety
The scientist, Daniele Piomeli from the University of California found that the anandamide, the chemical reason as why you feel ‘bliss’ can also can help in memory and higher thought processes in areas that control movement. Anandamide has also been compared to the sensation you might get from marijuana, but much, much, much milder than a ‘high’.
Are all Chocolates ‘Bliss’ or an Alternative Medicine?
The simple answer is yes. However, when selecting chocolate, the closer your cocoa is to its natural raw state, the higher its nutritional value. Ideally, your chocolate or cocoa should be eaten raw (cacao). However, cacao is fairly bitter, and the higher the percentage cacao, the more bitter it is. That’s why manufacturers remove the flavanols which make the chocolate bitter. But, it’s those flavanols that are responsible for many of chocolate’s health benefits. And that is why many manufacturers make it more palatable by adding sugar and chemicals. When purchasing chocolate, always check the ingredients on the back label. If the chocolate has sugar additives such as cane sugar, malt, maple, honey, dates, rice syrup, tapioca syrup, coconut sugar, molasses or fructose, it’s not going to be nutritional. And the same holds true for chocolates made with sugar alcohol or artificial sweeteners, which are known for their bloating, digestive disrupting and toxic side effects. Milk chocolate equally is not a good choice as it contains pasteurized milk and large amounts of sugar. White chocolate is also high in sugar and contains none of the phytonutrients, so is not a good choice either. Therefore the best alternative medicine option is the dark chocolate. Your goal then is to find a chocolate that’s as minimally processed as possible, but still palatable. You don’t want to eliminate too many of the health benefits by eating a product that contains a lot of sugar and chemicals. Ideally choose chocolate with a cocoa/cacao percentage of about 70 or higher. If you can tolerate the flavor of raw cacao, then that’s the absolute best option.
How Much Chocolate is Good for Anxiety Treatment?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to indulging yourself with chocolate. But here are some basic guidelines.
- Generally you should eat smaller amounts of chocolate more frequently, giving a gradual flow of nutrients in your bloodstream.
- According to Dr. Golomb, studies show people eating chocolate more than five times per week have a lower body mass index. But then again, if you eat chocolate 20 times a day, you’re going to have a problem with your waist size. Remember like anything, don’t go to the extreme.
- Daily consumption (two to three times per day) is probably beneficial, as long as you aren’t overdoing it in quantity, and as long as you’re eating high quality chocolate.
Health Information on Chocolate
Could it be said that chocolate is nutritionally valuable? There is no simple answer. It depends on your insulin sensitivity, your activity level, your overall health, and the particular composition of the chocolate you’re eating. You are the best judge here. Feeling good is important and no one should have to live with anxiety. You need to be able to feel good about who you are and what you are feeling. With the right anxiety treatment and with a little bit of extra dark chocolate ‘indulgence’, you can get to where you want to be and not have to worry about taking mind numbing anxiety drugs that many physicians prescribe.
And the best thing is that chocolate is a great alternative medicine where you don’t first need to talk to your health care provider to indulge … but WARNING, don’t over-indulge!