To build muscle, consuming protein is often recommended, as it helps repair and build muscle. Many people will consume protein powder shakes or find meat or vegan sources of protein. But there is an unlikely food that you probably don’t realize can help you build muscle, and it’s quite delicious.
A study found that consuming chocolate could help reduce your waistline, lower your cholesterol, and improve sleep. This is because chocolate is a good source of bioactive compounds, which is associated with positive health outcomes.
Dark chocolate also contains epicatechin, which has been shown to improve performance and health. Epicatechin is known as a very powerful antioxidant and has been linked to the reduction of stroke and some metabolic diseases like diabetes. It has been known to widen blood vessels, meaning more blood can travel through the arteries, which in turns improves workout performance.
Epicatechin can promote muscle growth because it stimulates the production of follistatin, which interrupts myostatin, a protein that regulates muscles growth. Myostatin restricts muscle growth while follistatin allows for more muscle growth. Although athletes may use steroids to interrupt myostatin, they lead to harmful side effects.
Another key to building muscle is insulin, as it forces glucose out of the bloodstream, which triggers protein synthesis. Too much insulin can lead to insulin resistance, which prevents glucose from leaving the blood—this is commonly seen in diabetics. Epicatechin increases glucose removal and prevents insulin sensitivity and when this occurs, it promotes faster muscle recovery and improves glucose sensitivity in muscle cells.
For the highest levels of epicatechin, try and buy the darkest of dark chocolate.
5 Reasons Why Chocolate Can Improve Your Workout
1. For starters, dark chocolate has been shown to improve heart health. If your heart is strong, then you can keep on pushing through your workouts.
2. Some research has found consuming chocolate milk after a workout can improve recovery time. The study found athletes who consumed chocolate milk had greater power.
3. A 2014 study found that people who consumed chocolate had greater memory test scores after three months.
4. Some studies suggest consuming chocolate can protect your skin from UV rays, which can leave your skin appearing more youthful.
5. Consuming dark chocolate has been shown to reduce your cravings, so instead of you binge-snacking on foods that could ruin the effects of your workout, a square of dark chocolate is all it takes to stay on track along with receiving the other benefits listed above.