It is food news guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Scientists have found that eating dark chocolate appears to lower the risk of depression byfour fold.
While 7.6 percent of the 13,000 people surveyed reported depressive symptoms, just 1.5 percent of the chocolate eaters did.
The study by University College London (UCL), the University of Calgary and Alberta HealthServices Canada, also found that the people who consumed the most of any chocolate werealso 57 percent less likely to report depressive symptoms.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson, of UCL's Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, said: "This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
"Should a causal relationship demonstrating a protective effect of chocolate consumption ondepressive symptoms be established, the biological mechanism needs to be understood todetermine the type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression preventionand management."
The study is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type ofchocolate consumed.
The team assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and NutritionExamination Survey.
A range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken intoaccount to ensure the study only measured chocolate's effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any darkchocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 percent lower odds of reporting clinically relevantdepressive symptoms in the previous two weeks than those who reported not eating chocolateat all.
Most recent figures show that around 19.7 percent of people in Britain aged 16 and overshowed symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoriasimilar to that of cannabinoid, found in cannabis.
It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important forregulating people's moods.
Dark chocolate also has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals whichlower inflammation and can prevent the onset of depression.
However British scientists urged caution about the findings, suggesting that the decision to eatdark chocolate could be linked to other health factors. For example people who choose darkchocolate may be more health conscious in general, which is known to protect againstdepression.
Depressed people are also more likely to crave more sugary fatty foods and so could be lesslikely to pick a dark alternative when choosing chocolate.
The research was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety.