When we think of chocolate, we normally associate it as a fattening food. Chocolate packs on calories and excessive intake can lead us to pack on the pounds. What if we told you that you can actually have chocolate to boost your workout? Would that not give you a little more motivation towards working out?
Whether you are looking to indulge before a workout or actually looking to have an edge, research has shown that dark chocolate can help. Dark chocolate has been considered to be a much healthier alternative to milk and white chocolate as it has been linked to providing benefits for the brain and heart.
Benefits of dark chocolate
- Good for cholesterol profile
- Improved heart health
- May help prevent cancer
- High Antioxidant content to prevent disease
- Improves cognitive function
- Can lower blood pressure
Along with these benefits, dark chocolate contains and is rich in epicatechin, which is found in cocoa. The higher content of cocoa in the dark chocolate you consume, the more epicatechin it contains.
How is epicatechin good for us?
Epicatechin prompts cells to release extra nitric oxide in the blood vessels. Doing this makes improves the blood flow and cardiac function as it widens the veins and arteries. It also enhances the blood sugar level in the muscle cells, providing more energy to them and enhancing the passage of oxygen into the cells.
Athletes have been looking for ways to increase the amount of nitric oxide in the bloodstream due to the numerous benefits it has with one being the fact that it boosts workouts. Many even take supplements to enhance nitric oxide but those are not proven. If deployed carefully, dark chocolate can be the enhancer that athletes are looking for to give them that special boost.
Kingston University in London carried out a study to see the impact of dark chocolate on cyclists. The study concluded that the cyclists that introduced dark chocolate to their diets utilized less oxygen during rides of moderate pace. Meaning they would take longer to get tired and less time to recover after rides. To ensure that the influence was the result of dark chocolate, the cyclists were given the same diet other than the introduction of dark chocolate in some of the cyclist.
How much dark chocolate should you consume?
Unfortunately, the research was not able to conclude exactly how much dark chocolate should be consumed to get optimal performance, even though the cyclist were given 40 grams a day. Of course, like any other type of food too much can be a bad thing, so you should limit your intake to about 50 grams. This should provide you with enough boost and also satisfy your craving for chocolate.
Do not forget to check the content of epicatechin in the chocolate you consume. Like we mentioned before, the more content of cocoa the chocolate has the more amount of epicatechin. Since both milk chocolate and white chocolate do not have a lot of cocoa content they are both a lot lower in contents of epicatechin.
Now, that we have provided you with one more reason to workout. You can check out numerous different physical activities here along with equipment you would need to start.