If we had to choose a label for the type of food chocolate was we would probably label it ‘junk’ implying it is of little nutritional value to us. However, dark chocolate (when consumed in appropriate portions) has long been associated with helping to reduce blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health and new research suggests it can even improve our exercise performance!
A study conducted at San Diego School of Medicine found that subjects who consumed Epicatechin (a flavanoid of cocoa in dark chocolate) saw enhancements in functionality during exercise. Following 3 months of Epicatechin ingestion mitochondrial structure and skeletal muscle function improved significantly. As mitochondria are responsible for the majority of energy required by the muscles during exercise, this is an excellent development in improving capacity for exercise.
Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes and heart problems often have dysfunctional mitochondrial cells which leads to shortness of breath, lack of energy and difficulties even during short duration low-intensity activity. Epicatechin can help to reduce these issues for those suffering from long term ailments allowing them to improve overall health through regular exercise.