DARK chocolate may be as good for health as exercise, say scientists. They have found it contains an ingredient that boosts muscles in a similar way to using a running machine in the gym.
Researchers made the discovery while studying the effects of a compound called epicatechin – found in cocoa – on mice. They observed the mice’s energy levels soared and they were able to exercise longer.
Now the team wants to see if the compound has a similar effect on humans in the hope that it can counteract age-related muscle wasting. The study involved mice being fed epicatechin with another group given the compound plus treadmill training and a third only used the treadmill.
US research leader Dr Moh Malek said: “Those getting only epicatechin had a significantly better muscle performance and took longer to tire than those that only exercised.
Dr Malek, of Wayne State University in Detroit, added: “We hope to identify in future if humans could get the same benefits as mice.”
Chantal Coady, founder of Rococo Chocolates, said: “It is known chocolate has medicinal benefits as well as being delicious.” And Cadbury said: “This seems to show that a little bit of what you fancy really can do you good.”