Great news for chocolate lovers! New research shows that eating dark chocolate may improve your health in a similar way to exercise.
A plant compound found in dark chocolate, Epicatechin, seems to stimulate the same muscle response as vigorous activity.
Mitochondria, the part of each cell that generates energy used by the body starts to produce more energy.
‘ More work can be performed when the body has more energy. Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells, says Dr. Moh Malek of Wayne State University in Detroit. ‘Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response – particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles.’
A specific type of epicatechin from cocoa was given to mice twice a day for 15 days. At the same time, the animals underwent 30 minutes of treadmill training each day. Researchers found that mice only fed epicatechin had the same exercise performance as those running on the treadmill.
More research is being done to see how epicatechin could affect age related muscle wasting.