Dark Chocolate May Combat Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress
Researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales have released a study showing that consumption of dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa results in reduced oxidative stress following exercise.
Oxidative stress is the damage done to cells by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced by the body as a byproduct of energy creation. This study focused on reducing levels of the compound F2-isoprostane.
The study was published in the May 2011 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition.
The scientists worked with a group of fourteen men in good health. One group was given one hundred grams of dark chocolate, one group was given a control bar, and one was instructed not to eat anything.
After two hours, they were told to cycle for 2.5 hours at 60% of the maximum oxygen uptake level. Maximum oxygen uptake level is the volume of oxygen that the body can utilize during one minute of intense exercise
Compared to the control group, the men who consumed the chocolate bars showed higher levels of antioxidants before cycling and lower levels of the free radical F2-isoprostane when they were finished exercising.
The researchers also found higher levels of insulin in the group that ate the dark chocolate when compared to the control group. This was associated with better maintenance of blood sugar levels.
Studies have recently linked dark chocolate with numerous other health links. Consumption of dark chocolate has been shown to improve skin health, cardiovascular health, and brain health.