Eating Chocolate Really Eases Period Agony, Study Says
- Experts have found that listening to music also helps reduce discomfort during menstruation
- Researchers followed 84 students from Manisa Celal Bayar University in Turkey
- Eating just 40mg of dark chocolate a day for four days significantly reduced pain
It is already the essential remedy for millions of women struggling with painful periods.
But eating chocolate is really beneficial, say scientists.
That’s as long as women eat a tiny amount of the dark variety in the days leading up to their arrival.
Listening to relaxing music also helps reduce discomfort during the first day of menstruation, according to the study of 84 nursing students.
Turkish experts believe that the endorphins released by the body after eating chocolate and listening to music help reduce pain and act as a natural sedative.
Turkish experts have found that eating dark chocolate or listening to music helps reduce menstrual pain and anxiety during the first day of menstruation
Scientists find that cocoa can lower blood pressure and protect your heart
The next time you crave something sweet, go for dark chocolate.
Scientists have found that flavanols — antioxidants found in cocoa — can keep your heart healthy by lowering your blood pressure.
They do this by keeping the walls of blood vessels elastic, allowing blood to flow through the body more easily.
Milk chocolate is probably not a good idea as it is high in sugar and can contain as little as 25% cocoa.
But dark chocolate can be up to 90% strong.
A University of Surrey study found that people who took cocoa supplements had lower blood pressure and more stretched blood vessels within three hours.
The pills contained as much flavanol as around half a kilogram of dark chocolate – which is normally sold in 100g bars.
Nine out of 10 women in the UK and 80% in the US experience period pain at some point in their lives.
It is caused by the tightening of the muscles around the uterus, cutting off the blood supply to the organ, causing the tissues to release chemicals that trigger pain.
Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and adenomyosis can also cause discomfort during menstruation.
The NHS recommends taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help relieve pain and also applying heat to the stomach.
The latest study, published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, followed women aged 18 to 25 studying at Manisa Celal Bayar University.
Ninety female students were originally included and all rated their menstrual pain as at least five out of 10.
But six gave up because they wanted to take painkillers. None of those who received the chocolate gave up.
The volunteers were randomly divided into three groups of 30 – a control group receiving nothing for their pain, a chocolate group and a music group.
The chocolate group ate 40 mg of dark chocolate containing 60% cocoa — — the equivalent of a bar slip. For example, a medium-sized bar, such as those sold by Cadbury’s and Galaxy, contains up to 200g of chocolate.
They were asked to eat chocolate in the three days before their period and on the first day of it.
Music group volunteers listened to a 29-minute, 32-second song daily during the same period.
The song was composed by neurology researcher Juan Sebastian Martin-Saavedra, with the aim of investigating the impact of music on pain for a separate study.
The slow orchestral piece is designed to be soothing and slow.
Participants were asked about their pain on the first day of their period at the start of the study.
They were also interviewed at the same time at the end of the study, allowing the researchers to see if their discomfort had changed.
Another questionnaire was used to assess their level of anxiety at regular intervals throughout the study.
The results showed that the average pain level dropped from six to five out of 10 in the chocolate group after they started eating it.
He went from seven to six in the music group, while remaining at six in the control group.
Anxiety levels dropped 18% in the chocolate group, 13% in the music group, and not at all in the control group.
The team, led by Dr Asli Karakus Selcuk, claimed that dark chocolate and music could be used to relieve dysmenorrhea – the medical term for menstrual pain.
Writing in the journal, they said: ‘Dark chocolate and music medicine both had a significant effect in 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 about the effect of musical medicine and dark chocolate.”
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