There is good news for those who stopped eating chocolate because it may not be good for you. Nature World News has reported that snacking on dark chocolate may boost exercise endurance and improve your overall fitness performance.
The study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. It was said that aside from the fact that dark chocolate has some health benefits, it also has the components of beetroot juice, which is a favorite food among professional athletes for its performance enhancing properties.
Rishikesh Kankesh Patel, who conducted the chocolate study, said that beetroot juice has the amazing ability to enlarge blood vessels and reduce oxygen consumption because of how much nitrate is in the food. Patel compared the substance in dark chocolate to the effects of consuming beetroot juice alone.
The substance that mimics beetroot juice found in dark chocolate is called epicatechin. Like beetroot juice, dark chocolate converts to nitrate acid, which plays a vital role in improving an athlete’s overall fitness performance.
The study consisted of two test groups of nine male cyclists. All subjects underwent rigorous fitness test beforehand to determine each participant’s current fitness level. The first test group was asked to eat 40 grams of dark chocolate for four days while the second group consumed 40 grams of white chocolate.
The medical team evaluated the cyclists’ heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood lactate through exercise tests, done both before and after the physical activity. They found that after eating dark chocolate, the participants used much less oxygen and covered a greater distance within the two-minute allotment for the trial.
“Both dark chocolate and beetroot juice are known to increase nitric oxide, which is the major mechanism we believe is behind these results. We found that people could effectively exercise for longer after eating dark chocolate -something that’s not been established before in this way.”
Patel explained that even though the study found that dark chocolate could boost athlete performance, he still wanted to conduct more research. He wanted specifically to determine if the effects of epicatechin were short or long-term.
“With so many athletes consuming beetroot juice to achieve this gain but complaining of the palatability, dark chocolate could have a similar effect but with the additional benefit of tasting good too.”
Dark chocolate has many health benefits, including that it is a good source of calcium and fiber. It is an antioxidant and can reduce your blood pressure. It can improve your brain function and may even protect your skin from the sun. Scientists are just learning all the benefits of eating chocolate, and the newest study claiming that it can boost your fitness performance is just another added benefit.
Experts caution that if you want the health benefits of dark chocolate, you should make sure the chocolate has over 70 percent or higher cocoa content. The higher the cocoa content, the better the chocolate will be for your health. Dark chocolate usually has a much lower amount of sugar added to it, so naturally, it is better for your health (and waistline) than a milk chocolate bar.
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