I love chocolate. So, I’m always looking for and excuse to eat it more often. But until Roy wrote the post, “What You Need To Know About The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate for Men, Especially Husbands,” I really didn’t think of dark chocolate as a fitness food.
Over the past several months, I’ve been convinced otherwise. Dark chocolate is an amazing food and an important addition to my diet. I’m going to list five reasons I eat chocolate as a fitness food. But to be honest, I would probably eat chocolate—in moderation—even if it had little nutritional value.
Reason 1: Eating Dark Chocolate Makes Me Feel Happier
By now, most of you may have heard about dark chocolate and endorphins. Well chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA). This is the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. I already told you that I love chocolate. Anyway, this PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins. That is why eating dark chocolate makes you feel happier. 
Reason 2: Eating Dark Chocolate Creates a Positive Feedback Loop
Like many of you, I will sometimes eat a small piece of chocolate to reward myself for an accomplishment or the completion of a difficult or boring task or after a workout. But I have recently read that some personal trainers encourage their clients to eat a small amount of dark chocolate before their workout to create a positive connection between the chocolate and the workout.  Sounds good to me. What do you think?
Reason 3: Eating Dark Chocolate Boosts Athletic Performance
We know that cocoa is packed with antioxidants that may reduce risk factors for heart disease, improve cognitive function, and lower cholesterol levels. But a recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition claims that eating dark chocolate every day could boost athletic performance. This claim is based on a theory that dark chocolate contains epicatechin (a type of flavonol), the same substance found in beet juice. This substance is believed to increase nitric oxide which is beneficial to athletic performance.  I personally like beet juice. But given the choice of dark chocolate or beet juice, I will choose dark chocolate every time.
Reason 4: Eating Dark Chocolate Curbs Exercise-induced Stress
Even though I exercise moderately almost every day, I still experience soreness if I overdo my routine. Going a little beyond my comfort zone gives me a sense of accomplishment that I crave, but the soreness that I suffer the next day can discourage me from embracing my next workout. Recent research published in the European Journal of Nutrition claims that dark chocolate provides some protection against exercise induced stress. This is because chocolate eaters tend to exhibit higher blood antioxidant levels and reduced markers of exercise-induced cell stress.  I’m not a sports medicine professional, but if eating chocolate reduces my occasional post workout soreness, I’m in.
Reason 5: Eating Dark Chocolate Boosts Energy
When I am not involved in writing for The Go To Chocolate Store, I have plenty of work around my house to keep me busy. Women, you know what I’m talking about, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Anything that can boost my energy for these types of routine tasks is worth its weight in gold. Well, dark chocolate does just that at a cost much less than gold. A little chocolate, because it is nutrient rich without being heavy, will help me get through my daily chores or my exercise routine with energy to spare and with out feeling bogged down as if I’d had a heavy meal or snack. 
All this sounds good and it is, but there are a few things to consider. Chocolate does have calories. About 50 grams of dark chocolate has about 300 calories. And like with any other food, good or bad, we must consider how those calories may impact our overall diet. If you regularly exercise and eat chocolate in moderation (that’s the hard part) you should be fine.
If you are like me, you don’t really need a reason to eat chocolate, but it is nice to know that eating our favorite snack is good for us. Dark chocolate has many health benefits which Roy and I have discussed in other posts, but the fitness benefits are also amazing. Dark chocolate makes us feel happier, encourages us to exercise by creating a positive feedback loop, improves our workout performance, curbs exercise-induced stress, and gives us more energy to boot. I can not think of another delicious treat with so many positive benefits.
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Have a blessed day,
- L’équipe. “Top 6 Health Fitness Foods.” 24 March 2012. 101 Fitness. https://www.101fitness.org/en/top-6-healthy-fitness-foods/
- Hose, Rachel. “Here’s why Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers suggest always eating dark chocolate before a workout,” 12 January 2019, Insider. <https://www.thisisinsider.com/eat-dark-chocolate-before-workout-scarlett-johansson-personal-trainers-eric-ryan-johnson-2019-1>
- Gans, Keri. “Can Dark Chocolate Make You a Better Athlete?”.2019. Fitness Magazine. <https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/dark-chocolate-benefits-better-athlete/>
- Smith, Brittany. “Daily Dark Chocolate Can Help You Exercise Longer and Harder” 2019. Men’s Journal. <https://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/daily-dark-chocolate-can-help-you-exercise-longer-and-harder/>