Don’t you just love it when something that you enjoy eating turns out to actually be good for you?
Well, that has come true for me and for my appreciation for dark chocolate. First, and this was about a decade ago, I found about chocolate’s ability to lower blood pressure and to raise one’s mood. I have often recommended dark chocolate to my patients who suffered from a sweet tooth and difficultly eating healthy foods
But wait! There’s more! Recently, new research has shown that chocolate also enhances exercise performance. This happens in two ways; first by significantly increasing TT (2 minute time trial) performance and secondly by increasing GET (the gas exchange threshold). This study also showed that there was no significant change in VO2 max, the maximum oxygen uptake during intense exercise. The results of this study suggests that moderate consumption of dark chocolate can help to increase the amount of exercise that can be completed before exhaustion, meaning that you can workout longer and harder.
I expect that there will be more good things to report as time goes on. After all, chocolate has hundreds of compounds in it, some of which have not even been identified yet.
So enjoy your dark chocolate around exercise time. Two caveats;
1) Use 80% or more dark chocolate. You can always start with the chocolate you like now and increase slowly as your taste buds adjust.
2) No more that half ounce per day if you are watching your weight.
J. Int. Soc.Sports Nutr. 2015;12:47