A new study, published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, reveals that there are benefits to eating dark chocolate on a regular basis.
Pro athletes are known to guzzle down beetroot juice because it has properties which breakdown to produce Bio-active Nitric Oxide (NO). NO allows the body to use less oxygen during a workout because it helps dilate the blood vassals in the body, increased glucose uptake and helps regulate muscle workout.
Now, beetroot juice isn't very tasty or thirst quenching which is why we're excited to find out that this bio-active Nitric Oxide can also be found in dark chocolate.
Scientists carried out an experiment where a number of cyclists were given 40g of chocolate every day for 2 weeks. Some of them were given white chocolate, and others were given dark chocolate. These 9 volunteers were all of an average age and moderately fit with a similar body-mass.
These cycling volunteers then had to cycle under lab conditions: pedalling with rising power until they were fatigued. After a rest break, the cyclists then had to pedal for another 20 minutes at 80% of their maximum limit. Finally, each volunteer had to burn through a 2 minute time trail.
The results were evident. The guinea-humans who were given dark chocolate for 2 weeks, rode further and harder than the white chocolate eaters. In addition to their performance, the dark chocolate eaters saw a significant increase in their heart fitness, up to 21% improvement from beginning the experiment.
So there you have it, science has made our dreams come true: a performance purpose excuse to snack on some yummy chocolatey goodness.
Check out these chocolate recipes - to help make sure you get the adequate helping into your diet [disclaimer: most contains more than the recommended 40g]!