Eating chocolate might be healthy after all with a new study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit suggesting that eating small amounts of dark chocolate could be healthier than exercise.
Researchers led by Dr Moh Malek conducted the study on a group of mice and found that a compound known as Epicatechin, which is also found in chocolate, produced a muscle response in the body similar to that of exercise.
The mice were divided into three groups, one which underwent 30 minutes of treadmill training every day, the second group being given a specific type of epicatechin twice a day and the third group doing both.
Dr Malek said that those mice that were given only epicatechin displayed better muscle performance and increased stamina compared to those that only exercised while the third group displayed the best results.
"Our study found epicatechin seems to cause the same response, particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles. Aerobic exercise is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. But mitochondria decrease in skeletal muscle as we age. Applying what we know of epicatechin's ability to boost mitochondria may provide a way to cut the effects of muscle ageing", Dr Malek said. The study has been published in The Journal of Physiology.