Chocolate & Cacao Drinks Aid Post-Workout Recovery

Who doesn’t like hot chocolate after a hike or a day on the slopes? Yummy! But how about a cup of hot chocolate after a long run, a bike tour or your workout? This sweet drink allegedly has superpowers when it comes to post-workout recovery. The contained bifidobacteria multiply in our stomach and produce agents with anti-inflammatory properties…and that’s just one of several benefits. Sports physicians consider hot chocolate a real power drink.


Top ingredients provided by hot chocolate

A cup of hot (or cold) chocolate provides you with an array of minerals your body needs for muscles and bones:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium
  • Flavonoids (secondary plant substances)
  • Protein
  • Vitamin D

The perfect mix

The mixture of cacao powder and milk offers a perfect proportion of carbohydrates and protein after your workout: 3 parts carbs & 1 part protein. Drink a cup of this sweet treat to provide your muscles with the necessary post-workout recovery protein and help your body fill up on carbs. Canadian sports physicians confirmed that the carb & protein mixture boost recovery even more than pure carb drinks like apple juice or alcohol-free beer.

Researchers from Indiana University, Indianapolis, also found that milk with chocolate / cacao accelerates muscle regeneration and reduces post-workout exhaustion.

How flavonoids help

Flavonoids are so-called secondary plant substances. They are not only contained in cacao, but also in red wine, grape juice, tea, fruit and vegetables and come with lots of positive, health-promoting properties:

  • Prevent cancer (they reduce the risk for stomach, colon and breast cancer)
  • Antioxidants (they bind free radicals which can be the result of metabolic processes or environmental stress or cigarette smoke; radicals make your skin age faster and can promote diseases like cancer or cardiovascular diseases)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lower blood pressure

Dark Chocolate with Cocoa on Wooden Table

The European university clinics of Düsseldorf and Maastricht conducted a study where athletes were served a chocolate drink twice a day during a one week period. Thanks to the flavonoids containted, their blood flow was substantially increased and deposits in their blood vessels were reduced.

Mix your own power drink

You just need a handful of ingredients for your own DIY recovery chocolate drink. Milk (low-fat, if you like), unsweetened cacao powder and sugar or honey – that’s all. Make sure you use natural cacao powder instead of sweetened cocoa powder as the latter has a too low cacao content and, therefore, too few flavonoids.

  • 250ml / 1 cup milk*
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder (unsweetened) or 10g dark chocolate (with at least 85% cacao)

*Feel free to use soy milk, but make sure you use the sweetened version to reach the same amount of carbohydrates.

And voilà, you’ve got yourself a drink with 8g protein and 24g carbs.

Try hot (or cold) chocolate as a powerful drink to aid recovery after your workouts and share your experience in the comments!
Bye for now,



Vera Schwaiger Vera studied dietetics & psychotherapy. She lives her life according to what Einstein once said: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." View all posts by Vera Schwaiger »