In this post, I’m going to describe the one (1) ultimate energy source that you might not have heard: Dark Chocolate! Remember those moments when you do not want to get off the couch? Those days where all you want to do is lie down because you feel so tired? The feeling of having very little energy is widespread, and for some people, just the idea of tying their shoes or doing some physical activity is terrifying. There is a disease called “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” and chronic fatigue develops in some chronic conditions. Once again, help is on the way: Dark Chocolate.
Dark Chocolate is not only incredibly delicious but also a great ally to improve our health. We have talked before about its benefits for improving vision, heart, and even brain functions. Here we will tell you how studies have shown that a portion of dark chocolate, specifically the flavonoids contained in cacao, can decrease symptoms of chronic fatigue.
The case for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex disease that is not yet fully understood. It is characterized by persistent fatigue and, in some cases, the presence of cognitive difficulties. Symptoms may include severe fatigue that does not improve with rest. Also, sleep problems, discomfort, or post-effort fatigue (symptoms get worse after any physical or mental activity), pain, and dizziness.
The causes of this disease are unknown, and there is no approved effective treatment, let alone cure. However, some symptoms can be controlled and neutralized, adopting new and simple habits, such as better sleep hygiene, exercise, and consuming dark chocolate.
In 2010, The Journal of Nutrition published a clinical study that revealed how Chocolate worked against fatigue by improving neurotransmitters' action, such as Serotonin. This chemical is a crucial factor in regulating mood and sleep, impacting your daily performance directly.
The study compared high cacao concentration liquor (rich in polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants) with simulated iso-calorific chocolate - free of cacao liqueur (and low in polyphenols) on subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome.
The experiment involved people with severe fatigue of at least 10 out of 11 on the Chalder Fatigue Scale. These patients had eight weeks of intervention with chocolate rich in polyphenols, a washout period of 2 weeks, and subsequently eight weeks of “treatment” with iso-calorific chocolate low in polyphenols.
Ten patients signed up for this study yielded the result that Chalder's fatigue scale score improved significantly after eight weeks of testing with real Chocolate. This observed improvement deteriorated significantly when subjects consumed the simulated iso-calorific chocolate. The anxiety and depression scores also improved after chocolate rich in polyphenols and decreased after the placebo.
Researchers concluded that polyphenol-rich chocolate could improve symptoms in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome. It is suggested to add around 15 grams of high-cacao % dark chocolate three times a day (half a bar daily like this one), as it has a beneficial effect on improving fatigue in subjects with CFS. "This may be beneficial for subjects with CFS if it is included as part of a healthy diet or a formal treatment protocol."
Is It Beneficial in other conditions?
One thing known about fatigue is that it is usually more common in people between the ages of 40 and 60 and other chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). In the latter case, the results of an essay published in 2019 in the digital edition of "Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry" showed that cacao (the main ingredient of dark chocolate) decreases fatigue in MS patients.
This study consisted of a group of people recently diagnosed with MS and fatigue. The participants consumed a high or low flavonoid cacao drink every day for weeks (6). They measured fatigue levels in three visits (weeks 0, 3, and 6).
Forty adults diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (10 men, 30 women) participated in the study. Nineteen of them drank a cup of cacao-rich in flavonoids, and the other 21 or a low version of the same drink. Researchers evaluated fatigue on a scale of 1 to 10 at three different times each day.
After finishing the 6-week experiment, 11 of 40 patients who drank cacao with high flavonoid content demonstrated fatigue improvement. There was also an effect on their physical performance in these patients showed by walking longer distances during the six-minute walk test than those who consumed the low flavonoid drink. Those who walked the most also showed a 45% improvement in fatigue assessed.
The study authors concluded that a simple flavonoid dark chocolate drink demonstrates cacao’s potential to improve fatigue in patients with MS. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties help physical improvement for sports, exercises, drug treatment, and physiotherapy.
Dark Chocolate is delicious, there is no doubt about that, but science also has evidence that it can give you an energy boost if you feel exhausted, have CFS, or MS.
Eating about 30 to 45 grams of Good-Quality Fine Cacao Dark Chocolate daily will make you feel better and reduce fatigue. Click ☝️ to get yours!
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