The Sweet Science Behind How Chocolate Makes You More Productive

New research suggests that the components of cocoa make you more content. And that leads to creativity. Open up and say: Yeah!

Stop for a minute and savor cocoa's accomplishments: battler of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease; booster of blood flow; and now, research suggests, calmer of the mind.

While there are many excellent qualities to chocolate, research at an Austrailian university shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can make people feel more calm and contended.

So what else can the lovely stuff do?

Polyphenols are a group of badass antioxidants found in tea, walnuts, olive oil, fruits, and veggies. The polyphenols found in dark chocolate hang out with brain receptors associated with anxiety, the study authors say, in the same way that some common anxiety medications do.

"Anecdotally, chocolate is often linked to mood enhancement," says Matthew Pase, the lead author of the study. "This clinical trial is perhaps the first to scientifically demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa polyphenols on mood."

And how does your mood affect the work that you do?

As we've discussed before, when people get creative, they relax their inhibitions, allowing ideas to flow more smoothly.

The inference, then, is this: If cocoa supplies your brain with polyphenols, and polyphenols allay anxiety, and anxiety inhibits idea-flow, then mood-elevating chocolate can help your ideas stream out faster.

Conclusion? When you grab your next bar, go dark.

"The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate," Pase says, "the more polyphenols the chocolate will contain."

The Candy That Calms

[Image: Flickr user John Loo]

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7 Comments

  • Kate Heyhoe

    Explains why the Aztecs were so happy to sacrifice their people. And if the victims weren't eager for their impending fate, they were given a gourd of chocolate & blood to cheer them up and get them dancing. (Chocolate begets happy feet?)  

  • Guest

    Proofing is a form of craftsmanship and craftsmanship matters. I like Fast Company, but inattention to detail calls into question the validity of the content. If you don't care about all of it being good, do you care about any of it being good?  There are 2 errors in this sentence alone: "While there are many excellent qualities to chocolate, research at an Austrailian university shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can make people feel more calm and contended."  I read another FC article a few minutes ago that had words omitted from a sentence that would have made it a cogent thought. Fast Company, yes, but not so fast that quality suffers. Take a minute to proof, please.

  • Alejandro Ruiz

    so this explains why i became dependent/addicted to chocolate during my thesis project