Eating dark chocolate as a daily snack could help boost athletic performance

Dark chocolate has already been hailed for its positive effects on cardiovascular health – and now a study undertaken at London’s Kingston University has found the tasty treat could help give sports enthusiasts an extra edge in their fitness training. After undergoing initial fitness tests to establish a baseline for comparison, the participants were then split into two groups. The first group was asked to replace one of its normal daily snacks with 40g of a dark chocolate known to be rich in flavanols for a fortnight, while the other participants substituted 40g of white chocolate for one of their daily snacks as a control. The study, which has now been published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that after eating dark chocolate, the riders used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and also covered more distance in a two-minute flat-out time trial. Mr Patel said the results opened the door for more research which could eventually lead to dark chocolate becoming a staple part of endurance athletes’ diets. “Both dark chocolate and beetroot juice are known to increase nitric oxide, which is the major mechanism we believe is behind these results,” Mr 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.”

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