During Easter time chocolate will become the protagonist of many recipes, starting with the timeless Easter eggs. Everyone has different tastes about chocolate: milk chocolate or dark chocolate? According to a recent study, published in the magazine Planta Medica, the choice of the type of chocolate is not trivial at all but can affect the mood.
The antidepressant effects of chocolate are well known, although the mechanisms by which cocoa can interfere with moods are not yet known. According to researchers at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, the various effects that chocolate has on mood can be classified as a pyramid.
At the base of the pyramid are the general effects of flavanols that have the ability to improve cognitive performance and good memory functioning. At the next step we find the more specific effects of theobromine, contained in chocolate, which has effects on cognition and vigilance. Going one step further, we find more specific substances than cocoa, such as salolinol, which could be directly responsible for the antidepressant effects of chocolate. At the fourth and last step of the pyramid we find instead the sensory properties of chocolate: thanks to its unique flavor is considered one of the most pleasant foods on the palate, which helps to improve our mood.
In short, the amount of psychoactive substances that affect our mood is naturally linked to the amount of cocoa in the chocolate; dark chocolate has more benefits on our mood than milk chocolate. Are you ready to choose (and make) your own antidepressant eggs?