Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Cocoa lightens exercise load for heart
Athletes who take a portion of cocoa two hours before training or a competition may reduce the impact of their exertions on their heart and blood vessels. That's the message reading between the lines of a human study carried out by nutritionists at the University of South Australia, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The phenols in cocoa make the blood vessels more supple and reduce the increase in blood pressure that occurs with physical exercise.
Mars, cocoa & health
The researchers wanted to find out whether they could reduce the rise in blood pressure by giving the subjects chocolate milk containing extra polyphenols from cocoa. They got the subjects to cycle for 15 minutes at 75 percent of their VO2max. That means cycling at a speed where it's impossible to talk at the same time. Two hours before getting on their bikes the fatties drank a 200 ml chocolate shake containing 139 mg epicatechin, 39 mg catechin and 523 mg procyanidins. [The curves joining the white circles below] On another occasion the test subjects drunk a chocolate shake containing very few polyphenols. [The curves joining the black circles]
The increase in the MAP was 14 percent less as a result of the cocoa phenols; the increase in the DBP was 68 percent less.
The amount of phenols the researchers used is the equivalent to what is contained in 163 g dark chocolate. But that amount of chocolate also contains 28 g saturated fat - 52 kcal. The researchers used a product that had had the fats removed. That might be healthier - certainly for people who are already overweight, say the researchers.