Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

It’s not just a sweet confection anymore. It’s good for you – and your workout! Chocolate has been studied time and time again for its mind and body benefits. And each result is more impressive (and delicious) than the last! Read on for the ways everyone’s favorite treat is making you healthier by the bite.

Health benefits of dark chocolate include reduction in fatigue, improved heart health, increased productivity, the ability to heal a cough or cold and elevated brain power.

Have a better workout

Keep a stash of dark chocolate in your gym bag. Turns out, it makes one heck of a pre-workout snack. In a recent study, epicatechin (a flavonoid found in dark chocolate) was found to reduce fatigue by binding itself to muscles, allowing participants to run up to 50 percent longer than those who were only given water. The study was conducted on lab rats, but science says you’ll get the same boost by eating approximately 5 grams of chocolate before hitting the gym.

Get a healthier heart

A nine-year Swedish study backs up the claim that eating one or two servings of dark chocolate per week reduces risk of heart failure. What’s the super secret? Dark chocolate is notoriously rich in flavonoids, which have been studied multiple times and have been shown to improve the flexibility of arteries and veins. Go ahead, grab another square—your heart will thank you.

Be more productive

The more you get done at the office, the less stressed you’ll be by the weekend, yes? Up your productivity by snacking on a small square of at least 60 percent cacao dark chocolate to beat the afternoon slump. It stimulates all the right brain waves to help you focus on the task at hand, allowing you to get more done and power through your day.

Stifle a cough

Get this: A study found that when participants (who we assume all had coughs) ate chocolate, it was almost as effective at reducing their cough as doctor-recommended codeine. Best cold medicine ever?

Boost your mood

Is there anything this stuff can’t do? Research found that study participants who consumed about an ounce of dark chocolate each day experienced lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and reported better moods, likely due to the feel-good compounds theobromine and phenylethylamine.

Allison Berry is a New York City-based writer and editor. She’s fallen in love with barre class, but she primarily uses it to support her pizza addiction.