Reduce Anxiety, Eat More Chocolate


There is some evidence that chocolate has a natural calming effect a few hours after you eat it. As we deal with the drastic changes in life right now, you may be feeling anxious – can a chocolate bar really help calm us down?


Urge Chocolates is a Canadian artisan small batch chocolate & confections company, located in Burnaby, British Columbia. They offer a wide variety of handmade chocolates and gourmet bars, locally sourcing seasonal organic ingredients as much as possible and importing their chocolate through the Cocoa Horizons Sustainability Program. We spoke with Dirke Botsford, owner of Urges Chocolates to hear his thoughts on chocolate helping with anxiety and how he is managing during this unprecedent time.

How is COVID-19 affecting your company during this time?

“Business has slowed tremendously on one hand but picked up in others. From a wholesale standpoint I believe the slowdown is attributed to customers watching their cash flow and worry about how long the pandemic will affect their business. While on the other hand, I see an increase in people looking at starting a business and starting to investigate what options are available to them. Like co-packing, creating new opportunities for themselves.”

What steps are you taking with the shift?

“We have reduced staff hours and interactions. With new business opportunities we are strictly online or web conferences. Since we do not have a brick and mortar location this is much more achievable.”

How can chocolate help with anxiety for people during this time?

“Chocolate for many has been a guilty pleasure, calming and a treat. Chocolate contains Theobromine, which has diuretic, stimulant and relaxing effects. Theobromine can lower the blood pressure because it can dilate blood vessels.  Chocolate contains a variety of chemicals some of which make us feel good by boosting our endorphins (those feel good hormones).  Chocolate may also boost serotonin levels that help us to feel relaxed.  Some forms contain caffeine, which give a boost of energy along with the calming effect. Incorporating some dark chocolate into your diet may also be helpful for easing anxiety. Dark chocolate contains flavonols, which are antioxidants that may benefit brain function. They do this by improving blood flow to the brain and promoting its ability to adapt to stressful situations. These effects may allow you to adjust better to the stressful situations that can lead to anxiety and other mood disorders.”

How are you making your product available right now?

“We have e-commerce. We are in the initial stages of reducing the cost of shipping by bundling. We are also looking for companies that have complimentary products that we can create care packages for customer to send to friends and families. Anything we can do to help reduce stress and make things achievable is our goal. We are encouraging startups to look local and think outside the box when it comes to creating new product. It may be a new world when we all come out of this.”


by Sierra Simpson

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