Scientists found that small amounts of dark chocolate may improve health in a similar way to exercise.The next study will show that it's better for you than sex.
The researchers focused on the mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses in cells that generate energy, and discovered that a plant compound found in chocolate, called epicatechin, appeared to stimulate the same muscle response as vigorous activity.
Dr Moh Malek, from Wayne State University in Detroit, who led the US study on mice, said: ''Mitochondria produce energy which is used by the cells in the body. More mitochondria mean more energy is produced the more work can be performed.
''Aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, is known to increase the number of mitochondria in muscle cells. Our study has found that epicatechin seems to bring about the same response - particularly in the heart and skeletal muscles.''