- 1 Dark chocolate and sport
- 2 Chocolate and sport
- 3 Chocolate and diet
Dark chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world, even if often considered a food that can sabotage the diet. However, dark chocolate in sports takes on the role of an important source of energy and nutrients for the body.
Is dark chocolate in the diet good for you?
Before we start, let’s make a crucial differentiation: dark chocolate differs from milk chocolate. You can easily include dark chocolate in your diet without making any sacrifices.
This delicious food contains less sugar than milk chocolate, making it a tasty alternative for those who want to follow an athlete’s diet.
The minimum recommended percentage of dark chocolate should be at least 70% or more based on personal taste.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, natural antioxidants that can positively affect cardiovascular health, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
These ingredients help lower cholesterol levels and even help you lose weight as it activates sirtuins, a group of 7 proteins that accelerate the metabolism and facilitate weight loss.
However, make sure not to go overboard with your chocolate intake, and if in doubt, check in with your doctor or dietician.
Chocolate and sport: can they be combined?
But how can dark chocolate be used in sports?
First, dark chocolate can be an excellent energy source before starting physical activity.
Eating a cocoa bar brings enough protein and carbohydrates to get the right energy to start the sporting activity. In addition, dark chocolate also contains a small amount of caffeine, which can increase endurance and reduce the perception of exertion during physical or aerobic exercise, especially with the right dietary supplements for running.
Dark chocolate can also be used after exercise to aid muscle recovery: the protein in chocolate helps in muscle rebuilding after exercise, while minerals such as magnesium and potassium help prevent muscle cramps.
Other beneficial functions of dark chocolate in sports include:
–antioxidant properties: they protect muscle, tendon, nerve, and vascular structures from damage caused by intense exercise;
–myo-protective properties: they protect muscle tissue from injury and reduce blood concentrations of muscle damage marker enzymes
–anti-inflammatory properties: reduce the risk of injury during physical activity.
Eating chocolate before performance helps reduce blood concentrations of post-exercise inflammatory cytokines.
–enhancing properties: exercise benefits from chocolate.
This is due to the energizing action of certain nutrients in the food and its positive effect on the nervous system.
How to incorporate chocolate into your diet
The dietary approach, known as the ‘chocolate diet,’ with a daily dark chocolate intake, is based on the idea that dark chocolate can have health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and increasing metabolism.
But it is worth emphasizing that this delicious food does not replace other food groups in the diet; if anything, it helps to supplement specific values needed for optimal sports performance.
Consuming dark chocolate and other foods, such as dried fruit, is usually recommended at least two hours before sporting activity or immediately after training to recover energy after an effort. It is best to stay within 30-40 grams, as this helps replace glycogen stores after a workout.
In conclusion, dark chocolate can be an excellent source of energy and nutrients for those who practice sports but consume it in moderation and include it in a healthy, balanced diet. Only then can it become an ally for those who want to keep fit and enjoy its benefits.