Eating chocolate really DOES ease agony of periods, study claims
- Experts found listening to music also helps reduce discomfort during periods
- Researchers tracked 84 students at Manisa Celal Bayar University in Turkey
- Eating just 40mg of dark chocolate daily for four days significantly reduced pain
It is already the go-to remedy for millions of women battling agonising periods.
But eating chocolate really is beneficial, scientists claim.
That is as long as women eat a tiny amount of the dark variety in the days before they’re due to come on.
Listening to relaxing music also helps reduce discomfort during the first day of menstruation, the study of 84 nursing students found.
Turkish experts believe endorphins released by the body after eating chocolate and listening to music help reduce the pain and act as a natural sedative.
Turkish experts found eating dark chocolate or listening to music helps reduce period pain and anxiety during the first day of menstruation
Scientists find cocoa can lower blood pressure and protect your heart
Next time you’re craving something sweet, go for dark chocolate.
Scientists have found flavanols — antioxidants found in cocoa — can keep your heart healthy by lowering your blood pressure.
They do so by keeping blood vessel walls elastic, allowing blood to flow through the body more easily.
Milk chocolate still probably isn’t a good idea because it is high in sugar and can contain as little as 25 per cent cocoa.
But dark chocolate can be up to 90 per cent in strength.
A study by the University of Surrey found people who took cocoa supplements had lower blood pressure and stretchier blood vessels within three hours.
The pills had as many flavanols as about half a kilogram of dark chocolate — which is normally sold in 100g bars.
Nine out of 10 women in the UK and 80 per cent in the US suffer period pain at some point in their lives.
It is caused by the muscles around the womb tightening, cutting off blood supply to the organ, causing the tissues to release chemicals that trigger pain.
Conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis can also cause discomfort during periods.
The NHS recommends taking painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin to help relieve the pain and also applying heat to the tummy.
The latest study, published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, tracked women aged 18 to 25 studying at Manisa Celal Bayar University.
Ninety students were included originally and all ranked their period pain as scoring at least five out of 10.
But six dropped out because they wanted to take painkillers. None of those given the chocolate gave up.
Volunteers were randomly split into three groups of 30 — a control given nothing for their pain, a chocolate group and a music group.
The chocolate group ate 40mg of dark chocolate containing 60 per cent of cocoa — — the equivalent of a slither of a bar. For example, an average-sized bar, such as ones sold by Cadbury’s and Galaxy, contain up to 200g of chocolate.
They were asked to eat the chocolate in the three days leading up to their period and the first day of it.
Volunteers in the music group listened to a 29-minute, 32-second song daily over the same period.
The song was composed by neurology researcher Juan Sebastian Martin-Saavedra, with the goal of studying the impact of music on pain for a separate study.
The slow orchestral piece is designed to be soothing and slow.
Participants were were asked about their pain on the first day of their period at the start of the study.
They were also quizzed at the same point at the end of study, allowing the researchers to see if their discomfort had changed.
Another questionnaire was used to assess their anxiety levels at regular intervals throughout the study.
Results showed the average pain level went down from six to five out of 10 in the chocolate group after they started eating it.
It fell from seven to six in the music group, while remaining at six throughout in the control group.
Anxiety levels dropped 18 per cent in the chocolate group, 13 per cent in the music group and not at all in the control group.
The team, led by Dr Asli Karakus Selcuk, claimed dark chocolate and music could be used to help with dysmenorrhea — the medical term for period pain.
Writing in the journal, they said: ‘Both dark chocolate and music medicine had a significant effect on reducing menstrual pain and anxiety in young women with primary dysmenorrhea.
‘It can be suggested that dark chocolate or music medicine can be used safely and effectively as nursing interventions in primary dysmenorrhea to control menstrual pain and anxiety.
‘Further research is needed to draw stronger conclusions on the effect of music medicine and dark chocolate.’