Dark chocolate is high in flavanols, which have been shown to increase available nitric oxide in the body. Increases in nitric oxide help reduce oxygen demands on the body.
Research shows that cyclists consuming 40g of dark chocolate per day for 14 days used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and covered more distance in a two-minute,
flat-out time trial.
Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants, which are excellent anti-inflammatories and help aid recovery. This makes it perfect for after a race or event, especially one taking place over a few days. It probably isn’t best to eat it after normal training, as taking lots of antioxidants, including things like vitamin C, can reduce the adaptions you gain
from that session.
Taking it on board
A great way to incorporate dark chocolate into your diet would be to make these tasty truffles:
75g 70 per cent or higher dark chocolate
For the coating, you could use cocoa, desiccated coconut
or ground flaxseed.
Melt the chocolate and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Leave to set in the fridge. Once set, shape into balls and roll them in the coating.
If made into 10 truffles (per truffle)
Figures based on using full-fat yogurt
Image: Getty Images/Clive Champion