Dark chocolate
When it comes to martial arts training, you need to have the best and quickest sources to produce and replenish energy. Did you ever think that something so delicious as dark chocolate could be nutritious? Well, it is. Dark chocolate is an excellent source of energy to eat before, during, and after martial arts training. It is simple to eat and convenient to carry in your training bag anywhere.

Why Dark Chocolate is a Great Source of Energy

Dark chocolate is becoming very popular for enhancing performance. Much like beetroot juice, it has similar effects. For example, research today has discovered that dark chocolate has a high amount of flavanols. Flavanols dilate blood vessels and act like nitric oxide. Beetroot juice, on the other hand, contains nitrates that are converted into nitric oxide (NO). The two use the same transport system.

Flavanols and nitric oxide cause blood vessels to relax so they can dilate and expand. This increases blood flow and enhances the delivery of nutrients and oxygen throughout your body. It does this without increasing the heart rate or blood pressure, or, constricting blood vessels. These two nutrients make you healthier and at the same time boost your training and performance.

The research shows that when comparing nitric oxide to flavanols, they found the flavanols in cocoa were different, however, equally effective as nitric oxide. Nitrates are converted into NO, whereas flavanols, increase and enhance the stimulation of NO production. And, on a more surprising note, combining the two together produced an enhanced effect.

Dark Chocolate and Beetroot as an Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant

Dark chocolate and beetroot are loaded with antioxidants like catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These are some of the most powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are similar to anti-inflammatories. For example, they:
  • reduce the risk of inflammation and inflammatory diseases, for example, heart disease, neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer, and arthritis.
  • reduce inflammation in muscles post-training.
  • reduce inflammation in your cardiovascular system.

How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat Each Day?

You can eat at least 30g of 70-100% dark chocolate a day. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better. Eating dark chocolate every day will establish a good level of nitric oxide and antioxidants in your body to promote health, prevent disease, protect cells against oxidative damage, and last but not least, boost your cardiovascular endurance.

How much beetroot should you eat each day?

You can bake, eat raw, or juice your beetroot. In order to understand how to load NO, you must know how much nitrate your body needs at a normal level to be effective. Nitrates are converted at 0.06 millimoles per liter (mmol) per kilogram of body weight. So, if you weigh 60kg, you need 3.6 mmol of nitrates daily.

About 1½ cup of beetroot has about 5 mmol of nitrate.

So, to load nitric oxide, you would have to consume over two-three cups of beets each day eaten or juiced. Just do the conversion of your body weight to kg and times by .06.

If you are looking to improve and boost your endurance, try eating dark chocolate and beetroot each day. And like I said, combine them both together to take it to a higher level.

Photos Courtesy of ONE Championship

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