Chocolate is famous for two things: As a gift from a lover, and as solace during heartache. Chocolate’s aphrodisiac claims (hence the lover's gift) are debatable, but some studies suggest that it may help relieve stress (including the emotional stress of heartbreak).

In a study conducted in Berlin, 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate, when eaten daily, was found to reduce stress levels in highly stressed people and was also found to partially correct stress-related biochemical imbalances.

Translation: Eating chocolate during times of stress actually makes sense.

chocolate in a jar

DIY chocolate syrup (Photo: Kimi Harris)

Of course, if you're looking for justification for eating chocolate, there is plenty of good news. For example, chocolate eaters tend to be slimmer, more Nobel Prize winners come from chocolate-eating populations, and it could even help protect your skin from UV rays.

But that doesn’t mean eating a typical chocolate candy bar is going to give you those benefits (though it’s guaranteed to give you a big dose of sugar). Instead of reaching for the more sweetened milk chocolate, look for dark chocolate — the darker the better. I personally like 70 percent dark chocolate or higher. A few favorite brands include Theo Classic Organic Dark Chocolate, Dagoba Dark Chocolate, and the coconut sugar sweetened dark chocolate from Coconut Secret. 

And because we love chocolate here at MNN, you can find a whole list of recipes using chocolate here. 

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