Dark Chocolate May Boost Athletic Performance.
A flavanol in the cocoa bean and in dark chocolate called epicatechin increases the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and reduces oxygen consumption, which experts say can help athletes to maintain their pace for longer. In this study, cyclists either consumed a daily allotment of dark chocolate that was rich in flavanols or white chocolate. After two weeks, the cyclists performed a series of cycling exercise tests. The researchers found that the riders who ate dark chocolate used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace than to those who given white chocolate and they also traveled further in a two-minute flat-out time trial.