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Does a Chunk of Chocolate a Day Keep Mood Swings at Bay?

Women can make some dietary changes to rebalance hormone levels.

Mood swings are a common symptom of menopause that affects more than 50% of menopausal women. A woman's emotional stability can become severely impacted by inevitable hormonal imbalances that often trigger severe bouts of extreme sadness, anger, and happiness. Fortunately, you can make lifestyle and dietary alterations that will help to re-balance hormone levels and decrease the severity and frequency of your mood swings. Keep reading to learn more about the effect of chocolate on your mood swings.

Is Chocolate Good for Minimizing Mood Swings?

It's widely accepted that keeping a balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy and happy mind and body. However, generally viewed as a bit of a guilty treat, chocolate might not be a food you'd expect to find recommended. Read on to learn why a small amount of chocolate can actually help minimize mood swings:

1

Antioxidants in chocolate

Small amounts of dark chocolate can naturally help to improve your mood.

Opioids are chemicals produced in the brain to diminish pain sensations, enhance pleasure, and create an overall sense of well-being. In short, they act as natural anti-depressants. Because chocolate contains a component called phenylethylamine (PEA) that helps boost opioid levels a small amount can naturally help improve your mood. Because dark chocolate contains higher amounts of PEA it is often the best choice nutritionally. Research continues to suggest that chocolate's PEA content produces a confidence-inducing buzz that will also enhance your mood.

2

Stimulates the “happy-hormone”

Chocolate stimulates the production of serotonin.

Chocolate also contains the chemical tryptophan. When this is consumed it stimulates the production of serotonin, a chemical known as the “happy-hormone”. Higher levels of serotonin meaning a person is more likely to stay calm and relaxed. Serotonin also levels out a woman's hormones, particularly when they become imbalanced during the menstrual cycle and menopause. Consequently mood swings are less likely to occur when serotonin levels are high.

3

Its palatability makes us happy!

Chocolate is one of the only foods that melts in your mouth at body temperature. It is this pleasurable experience, along with the rich taste and texture that can make us happier.

Recommendation

I'm sure everyone will be pleased to hear that chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can help us control, and or minimize our mood swings by interfering with the brains chemical balance. However, chocolate should be consumed in moderation, one ounce a day is the recommended limit. To learn more about mood swings and other dietary suggestions follow the link below.

Mood Swings: a Perimenopause Symptom

Mood swings are a common symptom of perimenopause. Click here to learn more.

Mood Swings and Intense Hunger

During menopause, some women can feel overwhelmed and even depressed if mood swings and intense hunger disrupt day-to-day life.

Mood Swings and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition, but eating disorders are often misunderstood or dismissed.

Sources:
  • "Adult Mood Swings". The Health Center. www.thehealthcenter.info.
  • Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
  • Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
  • "Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Molecular Psychiatry. www.psycheducation.org.