Eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance

Eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance

Eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance

Eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance, according to a new study from London’s Kingston University. This tasty and deliciously healthy may give the athletes of today an edge.

Dark chocolate (organic and at least 70% cacao) is widely considered a super food by health experts. It has shown the potential to fight Alzheimer’s, reduce blood pressure, and even protect from heart disease.

The research team set out to prove that dark chocolate has similar effects to beetroot juice, which is often taken by athletes to boost performance.

Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body. This dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption — allowing athletes to go further for longer,” explained Kingston University postgraduate research student Rishikesh Kankesh Patel.

Dark chocolate contains epicatechin, a compound also found beetroot juice that is believed to help with athletic performance.

The study participants were cyclists, who were divided into two groups. One group ate dark chocolate and the had white chocolate as a control.

The researchers then observed the effects of the chocolate on the performance of the cyclists.

They confirmed that eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance. The dark chocolate group used less oxygen when cycling and covered more distance in a 2-minute time trial.

Patel believes that this research could lead to more studies, eventually establishing dark chocolate as a great natural performance enhancement for athletes.

Both dark chocolate and beetroot juice are known to increase nitric oxide, which is the major mechanism we believe is behind these results,” Patel said. “We found that people could effectively exercise for longer after eating dark chocolate -something that’s not been established before in this way.”

He concluded: “From a performance perspective, making an athlete more efficient can have major advantages in long duration steady-state exercise. 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. When performing endurance-based activity, being as economical as possible in energy provision is key to enhancing your performance. From our results, the consumption of dark chocolate has altered the participants’ response to the activity and therefore could enhance their endurance performance.”

The study showing that eating dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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REFERENCES:
1. “Eating Dark Chocolate Every Day Could Help Boost Athletic Performance, Kingston University Research Reveals.” Kingston University London. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
2. “Dark Chocolate Supplementation Reduces the Oxygen Cost of Moderate Intensity Cycling.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

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