How is dark chocolate good for muscle growth?
Discover the muscle building secrets of this tasty treat.
Feeling guilty about those chocolate bunnies you scoffed over the Easter holidays? Well, don't. Because research reveals dark chocolate not only tastes great, but boosts fitness and triggers muscle growth.
So what makes chocolate so special?
The secret seems to lie with its chemical makeup, as studies show eating dark chocolate affects your muscles in a similar way to high intensity training.
Here is what the guys in the lab coats found:
A group of US scientists at Wayne State University in Detroit carried out tests on mice and discovered the plant compound epicatechin (found in dark chocolate) appears to stimulate muscle growth.
Dr Moh Malek was one of the lead researchers and had this to say: "Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response - particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles."
And it's this last part that holds special significance for us.
Not only does dark chocolate provide your wellbeing with a welcome boost, but it triggers muscle mass increases too.
This is great news for anyone who lifts weights, and is a fantastic reason to chomp chocolate!
But how much chocolate do you need to eat to enjoy these muscle building benefits? The latest research into natural remedies for high blood pressure provides us with a useful guide.
Dr Karin Ried is the Program Manager of the PHCRED (Primary Health Care Research Evaluation & Development) program at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Together with her science team, she combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people.
What did they discover?
Research showed that people who eat just one bar of chocolate a week are up to 22% less likely to suffer a stroke - these results revealed a 5mm drop in systolic pressure which is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking or swimming.
While Dr. Ried said it will take more research to discover the optimal amount of chocolate that was needed to lower high blood pressure naturally, just one chunk (6g) to a whole bar (100g) a day could have a significant impact on hypertension and your heart attack risk.
These findings are important because they show how a moderate serving of chocolate not only triggers muscle growth, but helps protect your heart too.
So if you're searching for a simple way to boost your muscle building and safeguard your health, why not try this tasty treat?