Superfoods for runners – Benefits of Dark Chocolate
I know what you’re thinking. Chocolate as a superfood?! Although Dark Chocolate isn’t everyone’s favourite, some form of chocolate being within a list of superfoods for runners is good enough for me. Who doesn’t love Chocolate?
The benefits of Dark Chocolate
Vasodilation – Dark chocolate improves blood flow by aiding vasodilation. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels. Why does this put dark chocolate on the list of superfoods for runners? Because widening blood vessels increases stroke volume, which is the amount of blood pumped around the body with each beat of your heart. This aids oxygen transportation to working muscles, which improves aerobic endurance. This also aids recovery after workouts and races as increased blood flow allows muscles to replenish energy stores, as well as transport waste away.
Reduces Inflammation – Dark chocolate contains Flavanols. These aid in reducing inflammation within the body, by keeping endothelial cells within the arteries healthy. Reducing inflammation aids recovery from injury. It also improves recovery from exercise which helps achieve optimal adaptations (performance benefits) from training.
Boosts immune system – Flavonoids also have properties which are anti-viral, anti-allergy and anti-tumour. Meaning they help with ensuring the body remains healthy and helps the fight against viruses (pretty topical right now). The main benefit of this for performance, is that your training can remain consistent due to less training missed from illness. Which is good because a consistent base of training is what builds fitness.
How often to have Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown a daily amount of 30-40 grams of 80%+ Dark Chocolate has the optimal performance benefits. From our personal opinion we either mix dark chocolate with porridge or just eat it plain. Let us know if you have any more creative ideas to include it.