Just about everyone has seen romantic comedies where the sad and lonely heroine sits down with a box of chocolates to make herself feel better, but is there some truth to that familiar scene? Can indulging in some tasty artisan chocolate actually improve our mood when we're feeling lonely?

Chocolate and Depression

First of all, there is absolutely truth to the "drowning your sorrows in chocolate" cliché. According to a 2010 study, people who are depressed eat roughly 55 percent more chocolate than other people. There is relatively little evidence that says that depression and sadness make us crave chocolate - it could be a case of people buying into a popular cliché - but it's hard to ignore this trend. It's also worth mentioning that both men and women seem to crave more chocolate when they're feeling sad. 

So yes, people do seem to eat more chocolate when they are feeling lonely, but does it really help? Like we said before, it's easy to dismiss this trend as just buying into a popular cliché. On the other hand, chocolate does have some surprising health benefits that are helpful when someone is feeling a bit down.

The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate has been seen for years as a junk food, but it is actually far healthier than many people realize. This is especially true of dark chocolate, which is rich in fiber, magnesium, copper, and other minerals that our bodies need. It can also lower blood pressure, improve circulation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. While gorging yourself on dark chocolate still isn't a great idea, eating a little bit every so often might improve your overall health.

As for improving one's mood, chocolate has properties that do that as well. For starters, chocolate contains tryptophan, which raises the levels of serotonin in the brain and improves our mood. Chocolate and other go-to comfort foods are also high in Valproic acid, which is commonly found in mood stabilizers. In other words, eating chocolate can actually provide you with some of the same ingredients found in medications used to treat depression and mood disorders. 

Eating Chocolate to Feel Better

If we can take anything away from this, it's that there is a good reason why chocolate is such a popular gift around Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It really does make people feel better, although that doesn't mean it should only be enjoyed when you're feeling sad and lonely. Great chocolates such as those available from St. Kitts Chocolate Factory make great gifts for anybody. St. Kitts Chocolate Factory carries a wide variety of chocolate, from your standard box of milk chocolate to fine artisan and Belgium chocolate.