April 10, 2013
The "sweet" way to
make exercise easier
Do you hate to exercise? Is it getting harder and harder to make yourself get on the treadmill or go to the gym? If so, I've got some great news for you – and it involves chocolate!

That's right! Chocolate might just make exercise a little easier for you.

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A recent study found that eating 100 grams of dark chocolate prior to exercise made the exercise more tolerable. In the study, the researchers followed 14 healthy men. They gave them the chocolate prior to exercising and found that the men were better able to maintain several key blood parameters. These included plasma insulin and glucose levels, better antioxidant blood status, and better oxidative stress response. All of these make it easier to tolerate exercise.

The researchers suggest that they need to study dark chocolate for its effects on prolonged exercise. In this case, they were saying for 2.5 hours of cycling at 60% maximal oxygen concentration. While chocolate may help you exercise longer, I'm not too worried about that for you. It's far more important that the chocolate appears to make exercise easier.

Maybe this is why my exercise tolerance has held about the same for the past 10 years. I eat dark chocolate regularly, a few ounces most days. Of course it's organic and limited in sugar. One of my very few dietary vices, but not a bad one to have, it seems.

Dark chocolate is loaded with cocoa bioflavonoids, which may have a key protective effect on your vascular endothelial cells. If you must have a dietary vice, this is the one to have (smile).

Ref: Nutr, 2011 April 5.

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