Victory never tasted so sweet. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has shown that regularly snacking on dark chocolate can improve athletic performance.
That's right. Chocolate is a sports supplement.
The study, conducted by testing the performance of cyclists over a period of time, found that eating 40g of dark chocolate per day increases the athlete's endurance allowing them to maintain moderate-intensity speeds for longer, and to complete time trials more quickly.
The Sweet Science Behind Chocolate Athleticism
The secret ingredient that improves athletic performance, as well as giving dark chocolate its health properties (for instance, lowering cholesterol and reducing the chance of stroke) is a naturally-occurring flavanol called 'Epicatechin' (pronounced 'epi-cat-e-kin').
Epicatechin helps your body more efficiently oxygenate and transport blood. When you consume dark chocolate, your body can get oxygen to your muscles much more quickly, improving output and performance, and more efficiently, meaning your heart doesn't need to strain as hard, improving your endurance.
This increased blood flow can help in other areas as well; epicatechin is associated with improved memory, contribute to muscle growth, and improve insulin sensitivity.
The Chocolate Caveat
Of course, as with most things in nutrition, moderation is key. 40g of dark chocolate per day is enough to see the health and performance benefits. Eating chocolate to excess is not recommended, and can have adverse effects on your health.
It's also worth noting that when the study was repeated with other types of chocolate, no athletic improvement was noted. That being said, we believe all premium-quality chocolate to be delicious, and most certainly worthwhile. Succulence is enough of a reason to indulge yourself with some truly succulent chocolate.
Canadians: Chocolate For Your Health
You love chocolate. A little indulgence now and again is important. Even chocolate that doesn't have these properties that are good for cardio exercise, is still good for the soul.
While we firmly believe in chocolate for chocolate's sake, it never hurts to have an extra excuse.
Looking for some 'performance-enhancing sweets'? Take a look at our Swiss and Belgian lines of chocolate.