We're afraid you didn't understand that title. What we said was:
CHOCOLATE CAN HELP YOU WORK OUT.
Though, not in the quantity that you think.
Everyone knows that there have been proven health benefits to eating a small amount of dark chocolate occasionally. Like, being less likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, or suffer from strokes.
What we didn't know until now is that there's something in dark chocolate that can boost and enhance your work out at the cellular level. And that something is called epicatechin.
Mice were give liquid form of epicatechin. There were four groups. Without and Exercise, Without and Sedentary, With and Exercise, and With and Sedentary.
What they found was that the "with" categories largely out performed on the treadmill after a while than those without. Yes, even the "with and sedentary" category:
By and large, the animals that had been drinking water were the first to give out during the treadmill test. They became exhausted more quickly than the animals that had received epicatechin. Even the control mice that had lightly exercised grew tired more quickly than the nonexercising mice that had been given epicatechin. The fittest rodents, however, were those that had combined epicatechin and exercise. They covered about 50 percent more distance than the control animals.
The muscle biopsies offered some explanation for their dominance. The muscles of all of the animals that had been given epicatechin contained new capillaries, as well as biochemical markers indicating that their cells were making new mitochondria. Mitochondria are structures in cells that produce cellular energy. The more functioning mitochondria a muscle contains, the healthier and more fatigue-resistant it is.
The leg muscles of the mice that had been given epicatechin and exercised displayed far more mitochondrial activity than the leg muscles of the control mice. Even the mice that had drunk epicatechin and not exercised contained markers of increased mitochondrial health, suggesting that the flavonol prompts a physiological reaction even among the sedentary. But that response is greatly heightened by exercise, no matter how slight.
Now, how much chocolate does that translate to? 4 or so bars?
Yeah, right. We're talking half of a square. And no, more is not better. More could be detrimental to the effects.
The fact of the matter is that we don't know the magical dose quite yet, but hey: At least it's chocolate!
[Image via AP Images.]