People who regularly eat dark chocolate are less likely to be depressed, researchers have claimed today.
Scientists quizzed more than 13,000 people about their chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression.
They found volunteers who reported eating any dark chocolate were significantly less likely to report any clinical signs of depression.
However, no such link existed among volunteers who reported eating milk or white chocolate, according to the experts.
University College London researchers admitted they could not prove chocolate combats depression and experts said further trials are needed.
Scientists quizzed more than 13,000 people about their chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression. They found volunteers who reported eating any dark chocolate were significantly less likely to report any clinical signs of depression
However, they said chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients - including two forms of anandamine, which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabis.
Dark chocolate also has more antioxidants, which reduce inflammation in the body – a reaction that some experts believe is linked to depression.
However, the team admitted it could also be the case that people who are depressed eat less chocolate because their low mood makes them lose interest in eating sweet treats.
The study, published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, also involved teams of scientists based at institutions in Canada.
While it is normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression may feel persistently unhappy for weeks or months on end.
Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people are likely to experience it at some point in their life.
Depression is a genuine health condition which people cannot just ignore or 'snap out of it'.
Symptoms and effects vary, but can include constantly feeling upset or hopeless, or losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
It can also cause physical symptoms such as problems sleeping, tiredness, having a low appetite or sex drive, and even feeling physical pain.
In extreme cases it can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Traumatic events can trigger it, and people with a family history may be more at risk.
It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know has depression, as it can be managed with lifestyle