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Why Runners Need Cocoa in Their Diet: Health Benefits and Tips

Updated: Sep 13, 2023


As a runner, you're always looking for ways to improve your performance and speed up recovery time. After all, the faster you recover - the faster you can train again. One often overlooked superfood that can help you achieve both of these goals is cocoa. Yes, that's right – chocolate can actually be good for you! In this article, we'll take a closer look at the health benefits of cocoa for runners. Cocoa for Improved Cardiovascular Health



Header 1: Cocoa for Improved Cardiovascular Health First and foremost, cocoa can help improve your cardiovascular health, which is crucial for runners. The flavanols found in cocoa have been shown to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation in the body. This means that cocoa can help lower your risk of heart disease, reduce muscle soreness after a run, and even improve your endurance.

Header 2: Cocoa for Enhanced Recovery Another benefit of cocoa for runners is its ability to enhance recovery. The high antioxidant content of cocoa can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which are two factors that can contribute to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage. By reducing these factors, cocoa can help speed up recovery time after a run and reduce muscle soreness.

Header 3: Tips for Incorporating Cocoa into Your Diet Now that you know why cocoa is so beneficial for runners, you're probably wondering how you can incorporate it into your diet. Here are some tips:

  • Choose dark chocolate: Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. The higher the percentage, the more flavanols it will contain.

  • Add cocoa powder to your smoothies: You can easily add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to your post-run smoothie for a delicious and healthy boost.

  • Snack on cocoa nibs: Cocoa nibs are small pieces of roasted cocoa beans that are rich in antioxidants. You can snack on them straight out of the bag or sprinkle them on top of yogurt or oatmeal.

  • Make hot cocoa with almond milk: Heat up some almond milk and add a tablespoon of cocoa powder for a healthy and satisfying post-run treat.

In conclusion, cocoa is a superfood that should definitely be on the radar of runners looking to improve their performance and recovery time. By incorporating cocoa into your diet in the ways described above, you can reap the numerous health benefits it has to offer.


Cocoa for Improved Cardiovascular Health

What propels you to the finish line? A healthy heart.


It all starts with flavanoids: natural compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. What are the main flavanoids in cocoa:


Epicatechin: The Heart's Best Friend

This flavanol has been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Procyanidins: Improving Blood Flow

These flavanols can help to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and protect the heart from damage caused by free radicals.


Quercetin: Lowering Inflammation

Quercetin has been linked to anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. It can also help boost your immune system and improve cardiovascular health.


This powerful cluster of flavonoids work together in tandem to help supercharge your athletic performance - enabling you to propel yourself forward on the racetrack.


Cocoa for Enhanced Recovery

One of the most notable benefits of cocoa for runners is its ability to enhance recovery. You know that feeling of soreness that sets in a day or two after a tough workout? That's Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and it's caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. However, the good news is that cocoa is packed with antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation naturally, which in turn can speed up recovery time. Not only that, but cocoa also contains compounds called flavanols that have been shown to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, helping them repair and regenerate more efficiently. So, incorporating cocoa into your post-workout routine can help your muscles recover faster and get you back to running at your best. But that's not all! Cocoa also has another recovery-boosting trick up its sleeve: magnesium. This essential mineral plays a key role in muscle function and is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It's also a common mineral deficiency, especially among athletes. Luckily, cocoa is a great source of magnesium, with just one ounce providing about 64 milligrams of this important nutrient. By including cocoa in your diet, you can help ensure that your muscles have the magnesium they need to function properly, which can improve recovery and reduce the risk of cramping and injury. So, don't forget to reach for some cocoa after your next run – your muscles will thank you!


Tips for Incorporating Cocoa into your Diet

Incorporating cocoa into your diet is easy and delicious, but it does require a bit of planning and strategy. One of the most important things you can do is establish a routine. Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the health benefits of cocoa, so aim to include it in your diet on a regular basis. This might mean having cocoa after your morning workout, or before your morning meetings. Without consistency - you will not successfully integrate it as a staple of your diet. To make it easier to stick to your routine, consider convenience. It is hard to whip something up when you are rushed. Look for something that's grab and go! Finally, it's important to be mindful of the other ingredients you're pairing with cocoa. While cocoa is a superfood on its own, it can lose its health benefits if it's combined with unhealthy ingredients like sugar and processed fats. The ideal cocoa snacks is made with all-natural ingredients and free of added sugars and preservatives.

Chocolate Excalibar - Healthy, Quick Cocoa on the Go

When we made the Chocolate Excalibar - we chose cocoa as one of our six natural ingredients. Known for it's healthy benefits - we wanted to give consumers something they can feel good about putting in their bodies.


Runners love the Chocolate Excalibar due to it's effects on recovery. In the words of our friend and customer Kevin Jang:


As I get older, recovery after workouts becomes more important. Fortunately with @heavenspantry’s Excalibar, I am confident that I can recover so I can bring my A game each day.

With an over 96% customer satisfaction rating - you will NOT be disappointed. Check out our product on Amazon today! Amazon.com: ExcaliBar Chocolate Energy Bar, Gluten Free, All Natural, Vegan, 1.87 oz Bars (Box of 12) : Grocery & Gourmet Food


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