Free radicals can quickly react with other molecules. Such reactions are harmful to the cell. Cell damage may result in various illnesses. It is very important to fight back free radical.
Believe it or not, chocolate is an excellent anti-oxidant food. Of course we are not talking about classic milk chocolate here, but instead, we are talking about dark chocolate that is made of cocoa. Dark chocolate helps reduce oxidative stress as well as it contains many anti-oxidants.
How can dark chocolate reduce oxidative stress?
Antioxidants are combined with free radicals and therefore stabilize the molecules and prevent any damage to the body. Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK made a research on oxidative stress, examining professional cyclists. They’ve found out that cyclists, who enjoyed 1.5oz (40 grams) of dark chocolate per day for two weeks, were exposed to lower oxidative stress than those who ate chocolate with less cocoa – a regular chocolate.
It was also proven that cyclists who enjoyed dark chocolate were spending more fatty acids during their exercises. Eating dark chocolate however did not improve overall performance.
Oxidative stress study results
Which dark chocolate to buy?
If you go to a classic supermarket they will most likely have many different types of chocolate – white chocolate, black chocolate, chocolate with walnuts etc. However it is less likely that they will sell dark chocolate. Go to a bigger supermarket, you will find dark chocolate there.
Try to buy a dark chocolate with at least 80% of cocoa (90% cocoa is best). Be aware though, that dark chocolate can be of a bitter taste and some people actually don’t like it. You should buy one bar of dark chocolate and try it. If you don’t like 90% cocoa dark chocolate, than buy yourself an 80% or 70% cocoa dark chocolate.
How much dark chocolate per day?
As you may know, chocolate is a rich source of carbohydrates. Eat too much of carbohydrates and you will start to gain weight. Like the above study showed, cyclists ate about 1.5 oz (40 grams) of dark chocolate per day, since they were physically very active. If you are not as active, try to reduce the intake of dark chocolate to a maximum of 0.7 oz (20 grams) per day.
If you are doing some kind of sport you can consume about 0.7 – 1 oz (20 – 30 grams) of dark chocolate (in addition to your regular diet) and it will not affect your daily calorie intake drastically.