Chocolate eases emotional stress

On Sunday I played cards in a charity tournament, which meant being in a large room for several hours with at least 50 other card players and yes, some of them were coughing up a storm. I was very careful never to touch my face, of course, but I had to breathe! Then on Tuesday one of my students told me that she had had a high fever the previous night. She looked terrible and was still having chills alternating with sweats. I told her to go home immediately, but she said she had too much work to do. Sigh.

Well, this combination was probably a bit too much for my itsy bitsy immune system. Yesterday morning I woke up a headache, a bit of nausea, and, drum roll!…chills alternating with sweats. I slept for most of the day, surrounded by my devoted kitty nurses. I didn’t have a fever, so I think this must have been some sort of 24-hour minor bug…not H1N1 or even the regular flu. I feel fine this morning, in fact.

Okay, now for an infinitely more interesting topic. A recent Science Daily article reported on the results of a dark chocolate and stress clinical trial (see: The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers. This amount of chocolate reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed. Well, this is more good news for those of us who enjoy a bit of chocolate especially since, as you may recall, the stress hormone norepinephrine makes our myeloma cells proliferate like crazy (for a reminder, see my page titled “Myeloma and stress”).

So have a piece of chocolate today, naaah, make that two!, and don’t forget to laugh. 

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.” (Unknown)


  1. Not only stress reduction!
    “Researchers have discovered a compound in dark chocolate that fights fast-growing cancers, such as colorectal cancer. “The compound requires the activity of an enzyme called kinase, which causes cancerous cells to die but leaves normal cells alone,” says Richard Pestell, M.D., director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. The darkest varieties offer the greatest benefit.”

  2. A few yearss ago my internist (MD) after a routine annual exam advised me to eat 2 squares of Dove dark chocolate which he claimed was good for the heart. He suggested Dove because they claim that they have a patent on a method of preparing the chocolate that used a lower temperature that helped preserve more of the beneficial; flavonoids. I don’t know if they still have an exclusive patent, but I enjoy the chocolate.

  3. This too! Chocolate Is Associated with Lower Mortality Following First Myocardial Infarction

    Chocolate Is Associated with Lower Mortality Following First MI

    Amount of chocolate consumption was related inversely to cardiac-related mortality during an 8-year follow-up

    Several studies have suggested that chocolate, perhaps in a process mediated by its antioxidant content, protects the heart (JW Gen Med Jul 10 2007 and JW Gen Med Sep 23 2003). A Swedish team identified 1169 nondiabetic patients who were hospitalized with initial nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Detailed food histories for the preceding 12 months were completed by 86% of patients; participants were followed for an additional 8 years.

    Compared with patients who never ate chocolate, those who ate chocolate less than once monthly suffered 27% less cardiac-related mortality (after multivariate adjustments); risk was 44% lower for weekly chocolate eaters and 66% lower for those who ate chocolate two or more times weekly. Nonfatal adverse cardiac events, strokes, and total mortality, however, were not related clearly to chocolate consumption. Consuming other sweets (e.g., cookies, cakes, ice cream) had no relation to cardiac mortality.

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