Why runners should eat chocolate

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1. It keeps you trim

After two weeks of 100g daily dark chocolate rations, study subjects at the University of L’Aquila, Italy, showed lower insulin resistance than white-chocolate chompers.

Why do you care? Because insulin resistance hampers your body's ability to regulate blood sugar, potentially leading to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

2. It lowers your blood pressure

Just 30kcal of dark chocolate per day (two squares of a little Green & Black’s 70% bar) can lower your blood-cuff stats, found a German study at University Hospital of Cologne, Germany. Adults were given a daily dose of dark or white choc for 18 weeks - the white stuff had no effect on blood pressure; those on the antioxidant-rich dark side came back with a three-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

Related: How to make your own running energy snacks 

3. It boosts your staying power

From reducing your cholesterol levels to easing inflammation, the antioxidants in chocolate could help tackle your risk factors for heart disease – which in turn means you can exercise safely, for longer. One Harvard University study found apples to be the only food with a higher antioxidant count per 100kcal. As if you needed another reason...

4. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants

Leeds University researchers looked at the total antioxidant content of the nation’s three favourite chocolate flavours. Here’s how the bars stack up in terms of procyanidins, a heart-healthy flavonoid:

White: 0g
Milk: 40.6mg per 100g 
Dark: 93.5mg+ per 100g*