Posted by Dr. Robert Portman on 1/8/2021 to Performance Tip Of The Week
For serious exercisers who are chocolate lovers, this proposition is almost too good to be true. There is strong evidence that chocolate, because it contains a high concentration of flavonoids, has anti-inflammatory activity. Besides chocolate, flavonoids are found in berries, vegetables, tea and coffee. Two recent studies examined whether chocolate flavonoids could reduce post exercise inflammation.
In one study, subjects completed a muscle damaging exercise protocol
and then consumed a chocolate beverage containing a specific concentration of
flavonoids followed by a second exercise bout. Measurements of muscle damage
were made 24, 48 and 72 hours after the second exercise bout. There was no
difference in anti-inflammatory parameters between the placebo group and the
group who consumed the chocolate flavonoids.
However, in another study designed to measure post exercise muscle
damage, investigators had subjects consume a beverage high in chocolate
flavonoids for two weeks before completing a 72 km cycling bout. The
investigators noted that consumption of chocolate flavonoids for two weeks,
significantly reduced markers of muscle damage.
The bottom line – there is still much to be learned about the effect of chocolate flavonoids on post exercise inflammation but in the meantime, serious exercisers no longer have to justify a sweet tooth but can simply claim their chocolate bar is promoting a faster recovery.