Stress? Chocolate! Why it really works

Stress? Schokolade! Warum es wirklich funktioniert
Do you have more to-do lists than hours in the day? Your e-mail inbox has long been full and your phone isn't ringing? Do you feel overwhelmed with stimuli, have a stomach ache and feel a tightness in your throat? That's kind of what stress feels like. We all have it - professionally or personally - and we all know that it is unhealthy in the long term. Sufficient recovery phases and a more relaxed view of everyday life usually help - and chocolate can also reduce stress. Yes, you heard that right! We explain why this is so and which chocolate helps best.

What happens in the body when you are stressed

From an evolutionary perspective, stress is there to put us on alert. Something is wrong, we are overwhelmed, danger lurks. Nowadays it's mostly the long to-do list rather than a wild animal attack, but the mechanism remains the same. Various hormones such as cortisol are released in order to release as much energy as possible in one fell swoop. The consequences: blood pressure rises, the blood is enriched with more oxygen, the pulse quickens and the muscles tense up.
In dangerous or exceptional situations, this mechanism is extremely important, sometimes even vital. However, if stress becomes permanent, there is a risk of health damage: tension, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and depression.
As you can see, it is very important to develop your own personal anti-stress strategies so that you don't jeopardize your health even in hectic phases. You can now find out what role sugar and chocolate play in coping with stress.

A good book and a little chocolate are a magic bullet against stress. A good book and a little chocolate are a magic bullet against stress. ©Unsplash

The desire for sweets

It's no wonder that we often feel cravings for sweets in stressful situations! If the stress hormone cortisol is increasingly released, the brain needs more energy in the form of glucose. So it's fair to say that elevated cortisol levels caused by stress often make you crave sugar. If you then eat sweets, the sugar they contain quickly lowers the cortisol level. A high cortisol level is very unhealthy in the long run. Sugar initially protects against consequential damage by lowering the level - but apart from that, of course, it is not exactly healthy. So that's no excuse to munch on big piles of candy when you're stressed 😉 . But we also have good news: Chocolate can actually relieve stress without being high in sugar.

Relax: Flavonoids in chocolate inhibit stress hormones Relax: Flavonoids in chocolate inhibit stress hormones ©Unsplash

Chocolate against stress: from flavonoids and fake chocolate

First of all: Of course, chocolate also contains mostly sugar. On the one hand, it inhibits the stress hormone cortisol - yay - and on the other hand it is of course not exactly health-promoting in large quantities. But chocolate has a lot more to offer when it comes to stress management. It is interesting that dark – and therefore low-sugar – chocolate in particular performs really well. The reason for this are many great substances in cocoa.
Dark chocolate, for example, activates the release of various hormones such as dopamine and endorphins. These inhibit stress hormones and at the same time have a stimulating, mood-enhancing effect. It also contains a number of antioxidants that are otherwise mainly found in fruit and vegetables.
The flavonoids contained in chocolate are particularly exciting. In 2014, a research team from the Universities of Bern and Zurich and the University Hospital of Bern investigated to what extent flavonoids inhibit stress hormones. A test group was fed 72% chocolate, and a comparison group was fed a mass that looked and tasted like chocolate but contained no flavonoids. Then all participants were exposed to very stressful situations. Blood values ​​were then compared. The result: The group that had eaten real chocolate containing flavonoids had significantly fewer stress hormones. The researchers conclude that the flavonoids already inhibit stress hormones such as cortisol in the adrenal glands. In a stressful situation, the cortisol level does not rise sharply in the first place.
We conclude that chocolate has a mood-enhancing effect and – thanks to flavonoids – can already inhibit the release of stress hormones. But which chocolate do you recommend the most?

Which chocolate is the best for stress?

Mood-enhancing and stress-inhibiting substances such as the researched flavonoids can be found in cocoa. In other words: the higher the cocoa content, the better the anti-stress effect. Dark chocolate or our 'Cool Beans' not only work best against stress, but also contain little sugar and fewer calories. Isn't that enough for you? Then how about 100% chocolate? Take a look at our online shop .

Theyo Cool Beans: fair, sustainably produced and 100% made by women #justsayin

Stress? Chocolate!

Of course, chocolate does not replace periods of recovery and is by no means a sole stress management strategy. In moderation and with the highest possible cocoa content, however, it can provide relief in stressful situations. It lowers the cortisol level and promotes the release of happiness hormones. And it tastes good! No, for real. The feel-good aspect should not be underestimated either. Take a few minutes and consciously enjoy a piece of chocolate. This not only releases happiness hormones, but you automatically treat yourself to a moment of rest and a break from stress. Try it!
By the way, you can find really high-quality chocolate in our online shop . Every piece is guaranteed to be a dream...
Pssst: There's even more to chocolate! You can find out how it can help you lose weight here . And here you can read why theobromine could soon be in toothpaste .

Wirtz, PH, Von Känel, R., Meister, RE, Arpagaus, A., Treichler, S., Kuebler, U., . . . Ehlert, U. (2014). Dark Chocolate Intake Buffers Stress Reactivity in Humans . Journal of the American College of Cardiology , 63 (21), 2297-2299.
Frobeen, A. (July 3, 2018). How the brain and hormones control the stress response (2/4). Retrieved August 26, 2019 from

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