Eating chocolate could improve your workouts
We already know how great dark chocolate is for our health. Seriously, every other week there’s a study telling us to eat one small square a day (rather than an entire bar of Dairy Milk).
And now, a new study suggests that dark chocolate has the power to seriously up your workouts, improving your stamina and endurance. Which is pretty sweet.
Researchers at Kingston’s university asked nine recreational cyclists to eat 1.4 ounces of chocolate every day over the course of two weeks, swapping any usual indulgences for chocolate to avoid weight gain.
Half of the group ate white chocolate – which, as we know, doesn’t have the goodness of a high cocoa content – while the other half ate dark chocolate.
Aaaand of course, the cyclists who ate dark chocolate were the ones who saw benefits.
Researchers found that the dark chocolate group performed much better in physical testing than the white chocolate group.
They were found to be using less oxygen, which allowed them to exercise for longer periods of time or at a more intense pace. Plus, they were able to go further during a two-minute sprint.
So essentially, dark chocolate is a magical endurance booster and we should all be eating it.
The researchers think that this is down to a substance called epicatechin, which is a plant nutrient found in cocoa. The higher the cocoa content, the more epicatechin there is.
Epicatechin prompts cells to release extra nitric oxide, which studies have shown results in improved bloody flow and cardiac function.
This process can also prompt muscle cells to absorb more blood sugar, which means you’ll have more energy.
So, what have we learned? The researchers suggest that it would be a great idea for any athletes who would like to improve their performance to swap a daily treat for one or two squares of dark chocolate.
But what they don’t know yet is the exact amount of chocolate athletes should be eating (although they doubt it’ll be a full bar). For now, limit yourself to one or two squares and see if it has any effect.
Even if it doesn’t work, you now have yet another excuse for a daily square of chocolate. Rejoice.