Can daily dark chocolate boost athletic performance?
Can daily dark chocolate boost athletic performance? 2 Feb 2019
I will begin with a confession, I love dark chocolate. So I am an avid reader of any scientific research on dark chocolate, as its always good to be able to justify eating chocolate for its health benefits!
Recently a research team studied nine amateur cyclists to establish whether epicatechin, a type of flavanol found in the cocoa bean, would increase nitric oxcide production in the body. Nitric oxide expands blood vessels, allowing more oxygen to get to vital organs, which boosts endurance and sports performance. The cyclists were divided into tow grounds, with the first instructed to replace a normal daily snack with 40g of dark chocolate for two weeks, while the other group did the same for white chocolate.
The two groups were assessed in cycling exercise tests in the laboratory to measure heart rates, oxygen consumption levels during moderate exercise. The groups switched chocolate types after a one-week interval and repeated the tests. The cyclists eating dark chocolate were found to use less oxygen and covered more distance in time trails compared to the cyclists eating white chocolate.
So maybe dark chocolate shoulder become a staple part of endurance althlete's diets.
R K Patel, J Brounder, O Spendiff, 2015, Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling, Journal of International Society of Sports Nurition, 12:47.