Over the years, I have followed studies on the various benefits of dark chocolate closely, and the benefits are considerable. Of course, the magic of dark chocolate is the cocoa content, and cocoa is loaded with health promoting compounds, which I cover in more detail in the Anti-bomb cafe writing, which covers science, etc. study found the synergistic effects of combing cocoa and coffee, which is further support / confirmation for my Bomb Proof Coffee (BPC) / AlphaJoe recipe. Back to dark chocolate!
A refreshment on cocoa:
For those who are not aware of some of the benefits of cocoa, here is a brief summary of the article linked above:
Cocoa (the main ingredients of chocolate) is rich in polyphenols (including flavonoids / flavanols) and other bioactive compounds such as amines, alkaloids, tyramine, magnesium, procyanidins, phenylethylamine and N -acylethanolamines. Cocoa has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin resistance, and improve endothelial function. A meta-analysis found that the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in strokes from the lowest level of consumption, despite the sugar and fat content of chocolate; a reduction in insulin resistance and a reduction in serum insulin levels were associated with chocolate consumption. There are various studies that also suggest a direct cognitive benefit of cocoa ingestion as well as neruo protection. The flavanol epicatechin is believed to be the main source of benefits, but there is a wide range of compounds in cocoa and it is very likely that there is a synergy between epicatechin and other flavanols as well as 'other compounds found in cocoa, many of which are still being elucidated.
A newly released study (1) found that ingesting dark chocolate improved several cognitive tests, such as "...verbal memory performance for several outcome measures of Rey's auditory verbal learning test. "The authors suggest that a possible mechanism could be an improvement in increased cerebral blood flow via cocoa flavonoids:" ...cocoa flavonoids can dramatically improve cognitive function in humans, possibly via mechanisms such as increased cerebral blood flow."
There is some evidence to suggest that cocoa might achieve this by enhancing nitric oxide (NO) production, but the mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. In this simple but elegant study, they fed a group of 35 g of white chocolate and another of the same amount of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) two hours before the test, and the group ingested the dark chocolate and a found that he obtained better results on these tests, concluding "These results support the idea that the daily servings of dark chocolate may confer brain benefits in healthy consumers.. For those who wish to delve into the details, the full study is linked below.
So what about athletic endeavors? High intensity exercise will increase free radical production and oxidative stress, and when oxidant / antioxidant status is not controlled, there is an increased risk of muscle injury and other inconveniences - for example, immune suppression, increased inflammation, etc. A recent study (2) found that dark chocolate (85% cocoa) positively modulated oxidative stress in elite level soccer athletes. Below is the summary with a link to the full article. Although this study did not examine parameters such as performance, the study found that “…a significant reduction in markers of muscle damage"In athletes receiving dark chocolate and"These results indicate that supplementation of nutrients rich in polyphenols using dark chocolate positively modulates redox status and reduces biomarkers of exercise-induced muscle injury in elite football athletes.. "
While I'd love to see if these effects translate into improved performance, reduced injury rates and so on, the fact remains that cocoa continues to win on all fronts. Some people drink a cup of PCBs as a pre-workout drink, while others - yours included - prefer it in the morning. I can also be found eating a bar of dark chocolate a few times a week while watching reruns of Simpson, but I digress ...
(1) Beneficial Effects of Dark Chocolate on Episodic Memory in Healthy Young Adults: An Acute Parallel Group Intervention with White Chocolate Control
There is good evidence that cocoa flavonoids can acutely improve cognitive function in humans, possibly via mechanisms such as increased cerebral blood flow. To date, much of the evidence is based on measures of executive function with high-flavonoid cocoa extracts and interventions. The aim of the present study was to explore whether benefits for episodic verbal memory and mood are observed two hours after consuming a commercially available dark chocolate (DC) bar compared to a chocolate bar. white (WC) of 35 g. Ninety-eight healthy young adults (n = 57 women) aged 18 to 24 consumed one 35g DC bar or low-flavonoid WC bar corresponding to calories. Verbal episodic memory and mood were assessed before consumption and 2 h after consumption. ANOVA analysis showed CD was associated with better verbal memory performance for several outcome measures of Rey's auditory verbal learning test compared to WC, however, there was no effect on mood. . These results support the idea that the daily servings of dark chocolate may confer brain benefits in healthy consumers.
(2) Consumption of dark chocolate positively modulates redox status and markers of muscle damage in elite football athletes: a
Oxidative medicine and cell longevity
Volume 2018, article ID 4061901, 10 pages
Intensive physical exercise can cause increased oxidative stress and muscle injury in elite football athletes. The aim of this study was to exploit the effect of cocoa polyphenols on oxidative stress and muscle injuries induced by intensive physical exercise in elite football players.
Oxidant / antioxidant status and markers of muscle damage were assessed in 24 elite soccer players and 15 controls. In addition, the 24 elite soccer players were randomly assigned to either consume dark chocolate (> 85% cocoa) () or a control group () for 30 days in a randomized controlled trial. Oxidative stress, antioxidant status, and muscle damage were assessed at baseline and after 30 days of chocolate consumption. Compared to controls, elite soccer players showed lower antioxidant power and higher oxidative stress alongside increased markers of muscle damage. After 30 days of consuming dark chocolate, increased antioxidant power was found in elite athletes assuming dark chocolate.
In addition, a significant reduction in markers of muscle damage (CK and LDH) was observed. In the control group, no changes were observed except for an increase in sNox2-dp, H2O2 and myoglobin. Simple linear regression analysis showed that sNox2-dp was associated with a significant increase in the release of biomarkers from muscle injury (). An in vitro study also confirmed that the polyphenol extracts significantly reduced oxidative stress in the murine myoblastic cell line derived from C2C12. These results indicate that supplementation of nutrients rich in polyphenols using dark chocolate positively modulates redox status and reduces biomarkers of exercise-induced muscle injury in elite football athletes.
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone blog. Will has over 30 years of experience as a respected author, columnist, and consultant in the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been published widely. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often groundbreaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women's World and the Townsend letter for physicians.
It has also been published in peer-reviewed journals.
You can also buy Will's other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.
For many women, getting motivated to weight train is easier than ever; after all, there are a wide range of health- and physique-related reasons to pick up the iron. Unfortunately, as women, we just don’t have the level of anabolic hormones in our body that men do, so building bourrinage is, and probably always will be, more challenging. This does not mean, however, that it’s ! It’s just going to take a strategic approach.
Here to share some of their best tried-and-true muscle-building tips are the fit beauties from NLA. Listen, learn, and grow !
The ' eat no more than absolutely necessary ' approach won’t suffice if you want to add muscle. In fact, figure pro and NLA-sponsored athlete Jessie Hilgenberg says eating enough is one of her top priorities, which is one reason why she leapt at the opportunity to show us what’s in her fridge.
' It’s all about eating to fioul your groupes de muscles, ' she says. ' A lot of us can’t get over that hurdle of gaining force, because we simply aren’t eating enough to support and maintain growth. '
She likes using the IIFYM ( if it fits your macros ) approach, as it allows her to figure out the best formula that fits her body. ' It breaks it down into how much protein, carbs, and fat you should be eating for your activity level, ' Hilgenberg explains, ' and often, it’s more than you think ! '
There’s nothing wrong with full-body workouts. Many women are able to build appreciable muscle by training every major bourrinage group a few times a week, especially when they first start. But if your total-body approach isn’t taking or has plateaued, it might be time to try a body-part split.
This is what finally worked for NLA athlete and bikini competitor Theresa Miller, which is why she advises hitting each main muscle group alone for maximum intensity. ' It’s important to come up with a good weekly training schedule that best suits you and your body type and goals, ' she says. ' I like to devote specific days to focus on certain force groups such as shoulders, back, and legs. '
There are many ways you can organize your split. For example :
2-4 workouts a week : Push/pull ( squats and pressing motions one day, pulling motions the next ) 2-4 workouts a week : Upper body; lower body3 workouts a week : Legs; push; pull4 workouts a week : Chest and triceps; back and biceps; legs; shoulders and abs
Here’s the catch : These workouts should still be hard ! Embrace the challenge, and find out what #legday is all about. It could be just the thing to take your results to the next level.
When you increase calories and protein, it can be tempting to up your cardio as well. After all, you don’t want to gain the wrong type of weight, right ? Jessie Hilgenberg says that mental trap might be just the thing that’s holding you back. ' You don’t need to spend hours doing cardio—especially when you’re looking to add muscle, ' she says.
It can help to think of it this way : Every calorie you burn on the treadmill is one that your body won’t use to build force. If you’re looking for a challenge to replace all that cardio, Hilgenberg advises hopping into the squat rack and pushing new limits rather than continuing to submit to your old ones.
For NLA athlete and bikini pro Amy Updike, results came when she started really adding weight to the bar. ' I try to lift the heaviest weight I can while still maintaining proper form and reaching the range of 8-12 reps per set, ' she explains. ' Heavier weight for me means the force has to grow in order to lift it. '
Don’t expect to get a lot stronger overnight, though. Slowly add weight to the bar, giving your body a chance to rise to the challenge. While you may not add weight to every lift in each workout you do, you should see a gradual upward trend. If it’s been six months and you are still using the same weights, consider this a clear sign that you need a change of approach.
When you’re doing endless reps with tiny light weights, you can get away with sloppy form. That changes once you commit to lifting heavier. Form needs to become a top priority !
' Don’t get sloppy, ' advises Miller. ' Always do slow, controlled movements when hitting each rep. This will help you feel the movement and the burn in the right places.
One great thing about that 8-12 rep range is that it is low enough to help you gain some strength, but high enough that you’ll feel that crucial mind-muscle connection—the feeling that helps you ensure you’re sérieux the right force fibers and getting the most from each exercise you do.