20 Reasons for Swimmers to Eat Chocolate

Photo Courtesy: Lee McCoy

By Bri Groves, Swimming World College Intern

Chocolate is often labelled as a cheat food, guilty pleasure, or rich dessert but these categorizations neglect its health benefits. To do chocolate some justice and give swimmers a couple excuses to eat this tasty treat, we’ve come up with 10 unexpected benefits that accompany chocolate consumption.

The more chocolate is processed, the fewer health benefits accompany the product. For this reason, health experts often recommend consuming varieties of unsweeted, raw dark chocolate. However, processed chocolate can still bring a superfood boost, provided there aren’t too many additives.

1.High in Antioxidants

Flavanols, naturally-occurring compounds that occur in plant foods like cocoa, act as antioxidants and help to counteract free radicals in the body.

2. Blood Pressure Benefits

Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with high stress levels or chronically elevated blood pressure.

3. Lower LDL Cholesterol

Eating dark chocolate on a regular basis has been attributed with reduction in LDL cholesterol by as much as 10%.

4. Natural Anti-Depressant

Chocolate is rich in seretonin, a natural anti-depressant. Eating chocolate also stimulates endorphin production, creating feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

5. It May Fight Cancer

Chocolate has been found to inhibit cell division and reduce inflammation in patients which may be correlated with lower risks of cancer and reduced cancer severity in patients.

6. Prevents Tooth Decay

Theobromine, a natural component of chocolate, prevents tooth decay by eliminating the oral cavity bacteria, streptococcus mutans, that contributes to tooth decay.

7. Longer Life

A Dutch study followed 200 men over 20 years and found that large chocolate consumers lived longer than those who did not. Harvard used similar methods and found the same results. Learn more about chocolate’s secrets of longevity here.

8. Less Disease

The same Harvard and Dutch studies have attributed chocolate to lower disease contraction and consequential longer lifespans.

9. High in Magnesium

Cacao is extremely high in magnesium, an important mineral that helps to regulate the digestive, neurological, and cardiovascular systems.

10. Brain Health

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that red wine and dark chocolate can protect the brain following a stroke by shielding nerve cells from further damage.

11. Higher Intelligence

A study at California’s Salk Institute found that epicatechin, a chemical in chocolate, may improve memory.

12. Cough Relief

13. Sun Protection

London researchers found that after 3 months of eating chocolate with high levels of flavanols, their subjects’ skin took twice as long to develop reddening associated with the beginning of a burn.

14. Reduced Stress

Swiss scientists found that when people with high anxiety levels ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate every day for two weeks, their stress levels were significantly lower and the metabolic effects of stress were partially mitigated.

15. Diabetes Prevention

Theobromine, which occurs in high levels in chocolate, has been found to quiet coughs and soothe throats without the traditional side effects of medication.

16. Insulin Regulation

Frequent consumers of chocolate have been correlated with higher insulin regulation and response.

17. A Healthier Heart

In a 9-year Sweedish study of more than 31,000 women, those who ate one to two servings of dark chocolate each week were  33% less likely to experience heart failure.

18. Healthy Fats

Chocolate contains Oleic acid, a healthy monosaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.

19. It Improves Vision

Chocolate improves blood flow particularly to the brain and the retina, allowing consumers to experience better shortterm vision.

20. Improves Blood Flow

Cocoa has anti-clotting and blood-thinning properties that work in a similar way to aspirin, which can improve blood flow and increase circulation.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.



    • Samantha Cross

      ? I will not be sharing this with Shiv!!!!

    • Paule Ménard-Pelletier

      Ahhahah je le savais que c’etait bon pour vous du bon chocolat!!! Maxime-olivier

  1. Nicole Jensen

    Written by the same people who said feeding young swimmers lollies was a good idea. Mum eye roll.

  2. Judith Montero

    Dennis Camacho Segura as if I needed reasons ….

  3. Jo Isaac

    Steph Griffiths I think we should take up swimming ??

  4. Julie Scho

    Dave Emmons if I saw it on the internet…?

  5. Alex Blair

    Erin Lee Marija Robinson cacao 70??

    • Jordan Fox

      not sure about the higher intelligence one ?

  6. Dennis Conway

    Finally, I can throw out all my prescription meds. Now I just have to learn how to swim.

  7. Jordan Fox

    Jack Williams Michael Garbelotto

  8. Tania Stevens

    Olivia Kate Stevens you may want to start swimming again

  9. James Chan

    Maria Woo please buy me more chocolate ?

  10. Sue Davies

    Leanne Peltonen – enough to make us take up swimming and be awesome like our kids, or does a bath count!!

    • Daniel de Wagt

      Even chocolade inslaan!! Maar ze bedoelen wel puur

  11. Arjan Hooiveld

    Renate Hemmes maar dit wist jij uiteraard al?

    • Renate Hemmes

      Haha alleen nog maar meer bewijs dat ik gezond bezig ben ??

  12. Paula Manns

    Kenyon Kellett & Devin Kellett

  13. Ruby Warne

    Meg Warne Emily Windsor Macarah Mallis

    • Macarah Mallis

      Yayya I can now not feel bad about eating chocolate

  14. Linda Thelning

    Donald N Nicole Downing book me in to swimming club!!

  15. Paul Conlon

    Cathy Balfe you were ahead of the curve on this one……………

  16. Sarah Rolko

    Katarina Listopadova Sophie Zahradniková

  17. Caitlin Pearce

    Bye bye diet Georgia Sellmann Ellie Porter

  18. Sarah-Jane Law

    Camille Vrain Alice. Kara Jancourtz Catherine Marie D excellent news ?

  19. Caylin Qiu

    ErinSienaIsabella tomorrow

  20. Mark Walsh

    Alan Corby Cillian Melly Rory Mc Evoy Joseph Mooney Hugh Mcmahon Liam Doyle get on those 2 bags of chocolate for €3 in chawkes

  21. Brooke Morgan

    Chloe Yoo we don’t have to feel so bad

  22. Kristian Myntevik

    Sondre Torsteinbu Møll betyr dette at jeg kan spise så mye sjokolade jeg vil?

  23. Mollie Allen

    Poppy Richardson Rachel Wellings Bethany Saunders we need to start eating chocolate again

  24. Jaclyn Pecze

    Nilza Helena Costa Rachel Smertz

  25. Julia Seamons

    Cameron Seyfang you’re all over it

  26. Sarah McNew

    Christopher Mcnew
    Colin Mcnew

  27. Sarah Hunter

    Samantha Moody the article we have been waiting for!!! Hahaha

    • Carina Morales

      Yeih!! ? pues habrá que comer muchachos ??

    • Priscila Montes

      Ooorale! Súper bien? que chido! Sí, habrá que comer?

    • Hilde Nuyens

      Daarom vind ik het ook geweldig te lezen wat ik al wist ???

    • Carine Van Hoppe

      Ik moet misschien ook beginnen zwemmen. Chocolade eet ik al hihihi.

  28. Abbie Imes

    Nicole Maddox Levendofsky tell G he can’t get mad at Piper anymore!!

  29. Jamie Siegel

    That definitely sound like something Brynne Campbell would like…

  30. Gary Johnson

    Helen Besford get the chocolate in x

    • Annie Chu

      Finally…A good excuse!!!

  31. Sally Curtis

    Jesse Curtis and Rachael Curtis

Author: Bri Groves

Sabrina Groves is a sophomore student-athlete at Mount Holyoke College pursuing a double major in Biology and English with a teacher licensure in secondary education. She holds multiple MHC swimming records, has been featured as MHC’s Athlete of the week, and was a finalist at this year’s NEWMAC conference championships. Prior to swimming at Mount Holyoke College, Groves trained with York Swim Club in northern Virginia.

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