Chocolate Might Just Boost Your Workouts, According To Science

File this under: “Research we can really get behind.”

To paraphrase a line from the 2003 cult classic The Room, chocolate has long been considered a symbol of love. But while the idea that chocolate is an aphrodisiac is, unfortunately, nothing more than a myth, chocolate does have a few documented health benefits, from lower blood pressure to a speedier post-workout recovery.  

RELATED: Always Have Room For Dessert? Here’s Why.

#1/ Chocolate can boost your post-workout recovery

Drinking chocolate milk after you exercise may help repair your muscles, research suggests. In fact, a study from the University of Texas at Austin found that athletes who drank low-fat chocolate milk post-workout instead of a carb-based sports drink or a calorie-free drink, had significantly more power and rode faster. (Whether it’s a good idea to chug a glass of chocolate milk after an intense workout is another question entirely.)

#2/ Chocolate has been linked to heart health

Cocoa beans are rich in plant nutrients called flavonoids. Dark chocolate in particular is a great source of flavanols, which has antioxidant properties that may reduce the risk of heart disease

Consuming moderate amounts of chocolate has also been associated with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat condition that can increase your risk for a stroke, heart failure, and other heart complications, Harvard experts say.

#3/ Chocolate has been linked to better brain performance

A 2014 study found that adults who took a high-flavanol cocoa supplement for three months performed better on memory tests than participants who consumed a low-flavanol cocoa supplement. Additionally, a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that places where chocolate consumption is highest boast the most Nobel Prize recipients — so if Nobel Prize winners are eating more chocolate, then maybe we should be, too.

#4/ Chocolate *might* be good for your skin

Contrary to what your mum may have told you in high school, eating chocolate can actually improve your skin, with some research suggesting it can help protect you from harmful UV rays. That said, other researchers have reported that eating more chocolate may increase your risk of acne, so the jury is ultimately still out on this one.

#5/ Chocolate is thought to help reduce cravings

Eating dark chocolate may help to keep the munchies at bay, according to one small study by University of Copenhagen researchers. That’s particularly true if you’re craving sweet, salty, or fatty foods.

Loved reading about these chocolate benefits? Here’s how to store and eat it for maximum enjoyment.

This article originally appeared on Men’s Health

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