Yes, we all know that dark chocolate is heart healthy. But did you know that it can also help improve your exercise performance?
British researchers have found out that it also improves exercise performance in cyclists.
The researchers studied 9 young men in their early 20s, who were moderately trained in cycling. The cyclists were then tested to establish their gas exchange threshold or GET baseline. GET is used as a marker of cardio-respiratory endurance and fitness capacity. he participants then cycled at 80% of their GET for at least 20 minutes followed by a 2 minute time trial.
The researchers randomly assigned the participants or bikers to consume either 40 grams of dark chocolate or white chocolate daily, for 14 days before being tested again. Using a randomized crossover design, the selected participants, have a 7-day wash out period. After that, they tried other type of chocolate for 14 days, before being tested again.
The researchers found that supplementing with dark chocolate reduced the oxygen cost of exercise or any moderate intensity exercise. They also found that it improved the time trials of the cyclists.
In particular, the dark chocolate increased GET by at least 21% compared to baseline and 11% compared to the white chocolate. It also help increased the total distance traveled in the time trials by at least 17% compared to baseline and 13% as compared to white chocolate.
Note: In the study the researchers used 40 grams of DOVE®, Dark Chocolate manufactured by Mars, Incorporated. That’s about 5 pieces of Dove Promises. But it will also give you 19 grams of sugar.
The researchers noted that it was the flavanols in dark chocolate, which help increase the bio-activity and bio-availability of nitric oxide (NO). Increasing nitric oxide (NO) bio-availability has been shown to reduce the oxygen cost of exercise.
It was suggested that dark chocolate may be an effective tool for short-duration moderate intensity exercise.
Other studies have concluded that dark chocolate can help lower exercise-induced high blood pressure in overweight individuals. While another study showed that consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate for 2 weeks may help reduce oxidative stress, following prolonged exhaustive exercise.
Other Health Benefits of Exercise:
- Burns belly fat
- Helps relieve stress
- Improves metabolic syndrome
- Lowers your diabetes risk
- Prevents flu
You can also try this raw cacao smoothie to boost your workout.
Raw Cacao Smoothie
1 banana, frozen
1 cup coconut water
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds or chia seeds
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon raw maca powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Add all ingredients to blender.
2. Blend until smooth.