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Dark chocolate eases emotional stress

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Actress Marie Fugain wears a creation made with chocolate during a fashion show at the inauguration of the 15th annual Salon du Chocolat de Paris in Paris on October 13, 2009. The show, the world's biggest dedicated to chocolate, brings together fashion designers and over 140 chocolatiers from around the world. UPI Photo/David Silpa | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/94b2e205cfc1a07b12a9ee7ab8c61e85/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Actress Marie Fugain wears a creation made with chocolate during a fashion show at the inauguration of the 15th annual Salon du Chocolat de Paris in Paris on October 13, 2009. The show, the world's biggest dedicated to chocolate, brings together fashion designers and over 140 chocolatiers from around the world. UPI Photo/David Silpa | License Photo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Swiss scientists say people who are stressed and reach for dark chocolate -- the "chocolate cure" -- do seem to experience less emotional stress.

Sunil Kochhar of the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, conducted a clinical trial involving 30 human subjects, who were classified in low and high anxiety traits using validated psychological questionnaires.

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Urine and blood plasma were collected during three test days at the beginning, mid-time and at the end of a two-week study.

Kochhar said human subjects with higher anxiety trait showed a distinct metabolic profile indicative of a different energy homeostasis, hormonal metabolism and gut microbial activity.

The study, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, found eating about one-and-one-half ounce of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people who say they feel highly stressed.

"The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams -- 1.4 ounces (of dark chocolate) -- during a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers," the researchers said in a statement.

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