Guess what, CGs? Research recently brought to light by The New York Times suggests that a daily dose of dark chocolate can make exercise even more effective.
In a small but thorough study, researchers from England's Kingston University tested eight male cyclists before and after swapping regular snacks for about one and a half squares of either dark or white chocolate every day for two weeks. Although they made no other changes to their diets and training routines, the riders in the dark chocolate group performed notably better on their second fitness tests than they did on the first time around, sprinting faster and with improved stamina benefits the white chocolate group didn't experience.
While the researchers didn't look into why, their hunch is that unlike white chocolate, dark chocolate is a solid source of epicatechin, a naturally-occurring substance found in cocoa. The stuff is known to improve blood flow, cardiac functioning, and energy metabolism in the muscles, which help you bring your best game and keep it up for longer before conking out.
Granted, the study was small and done on male cyclists, so more research is needed to double-check the effects on women and also suss out ideal serving sizes. But science can be sort of slow—it took years for researchers to test this whole chocolate thing on humans after animal tests proved promising. Until more info rolls in, go ahead and swap your go-to treats for dark chocolate. It's also worth noting that the lead researcher told The New York Times that recreational athletes are likely to benefit from it.
Unfortunately for people who love chocolate more than science, a couple of squares is probably the upper limit—at least when it comes to improving your athletic prowess. (Still, chocolate FTW!)
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.