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After Easter, train with dark chocolate

A study conducted by the Kingston University reveals that by eating small amounts of dark chocolate athletes can increase their strength and resistance.

Dark chocolate, the subject of research that showed its beneficial effects on heart and brain, can be a healthy treat for the athletes that want to improve their performance. Researchers at the Kingston University found that eating 40 g of chocolate every day “reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling and can help enhance the athlete’s performance during brief moderate intensity cycling. But chocolate should be dark, researchers say. This because milk and white chocolate contains much lower levels of epicatechin, a flavonoid that benefits the heart and the leg muscle.

 

dark chocolate sport training
Dark chocolate is rich in epicatechin, a flavonoid that benefits the heart and leg muscle © Getty Images

 

The study was conducted on a group of amateur cyclists who were asked to eat 40 grammes of dark or white chocolate every day. The cyclists first underwent tests of their fitness and oxygen uptake during the different phases of their training. The cyclists were asked to replace one of their snacks with chocolate, to avoid weight gain.

 

dark chocolate training
Replacing one of their daily snacks with a couple of squares of dark chocolate athletes can enhance their physical performances © Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

 

The athletes included chocolate in their diet for two weeks, then went back to the laboratory to repeat the tests of fitness and oxygen consumption. Then the two groups were provided with the type of chocolate they didn’t eat before for another two weeks: those who ate dark chocolate were provided with white chocolate and vice versa. At the end of this period the cyclists underwent the tests again. The results were evident. When the cyclists ate dark chocolate, they performed better in most of the physical tests then when they had eaten white chocolate. Athletes used less oxygen to ride at a moderate pace, a condition that would generally allow them to ride longer or harder before tiring. Their sprinting ability had also been enhanced.

 

Scientists didn’t find the most adequate amount of chocolate for the athletes, since different types of chocolate contain different amounts of flavonoids, but they suggest them to replace one of their daily snacks with a couple of squares of dark chocolate to enhance their physical performances.

 

Featured image: © www.cleanindulgence.com.au

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