If you’re about to face a stressful event, go ahead and snag a piece of dark chocolate. New research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that eating dark chocolate buffers your body’s reaction to the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
Sixty-five study participants ate either a placebo or 50 grams (roughly the size of a small chocolate bar) of dark chocolate containing 72 percent cocoa. They then endured an anxiety-producing mock interview and a math test in front of an audience. (What scientist thought up those tortures?)
Researchers analyzed subjects’ blood before and after the events. Though both groups experienced a spike in stress hormones, the chocolate group saw significantly lower levels. Researchers believe that dark chocolate’s abundant epicatechin phenols may blunt cortisol production so you have less of it in your system.