Health

Eating chocolate could help improve your sleep, according to a nutritionist

As we’re only a few weeks into the new year, you might currently find yourself trying to cut certain foods out of your diet – new year, new me and all that jazz.

We recently heard from fitness blogger Lucy Mountain about why avoiding certain foods isn’t always the best idea and now another expert has shared some words of wisdom on the subject.

Nutritionist and personal trainer Keris Marsden attended Stylist Magazine’s Restival event over the weekend and spoke about how one food, that many people try and stop themselves from eating when on a diet, can actually have some major benefits.

We’re talking of course, about chocolate.

It helps increase production of serotonin in the body (stock photo)

Yes, according to Marsden, eating chocolate could actually help you have a better night of sleep.

Speaking at the event, she explained how the hormone serotonin is essential for the production of melatonin in the body. 

Melatonin, in case you didn’t know, is the hormone that regulates our sleep cycle.

She went on to say how eating certain foods can increase the levels of serotonin and thus boost the production of melatonin in the body – and one such food is chocolate.

Yummy! (stock photo)

She said: “Chocolate is an essential resource for the body, wouldn’t you agree?

“In all my days, in everything I’ve learnt about nutrition this has been the same gold standard, there’s not been a day I don’t think in my life where I’ve not consumed chocolate.”

Marsden added: “It increases serotonin – serotonin helps you fall asleep at night. So there you go.”

And good sleep isn’t the only benefit of eating chocolate.

According to researchers from University College London people who eat dark chocolate are less likely to be depressed.

In the study, the team looked at data from 13,626 adults, including their chocolate consumption, depressive symptoms, and a range of other factors including their height, physical activity and any other chronic health problems.

The analysis of the data revealed that participants who reported eating dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70% lower odds of reporting depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all.

Dr Sarah Jackson, who led the study, said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.

“However further research is required to clarify the direction of causation – it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed.

“Should a causal relationship demonstrating a protective effect of chocolate consumption on depressive symptoms be established, the biological mechanism needs to be understood to determine the type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression prevention and management.”

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