One cardiologist believes scoops of this ice cream could turn you pro.
Photo via Flickr user m01229
But improve physical fitness? Only in your fat kid dreams.
Hold the cone. What's this? A cardiologist claims to have invented an ice cream that improves sport performance. An Italian cardiologist, sì,certo.
As The Local reports, Professor Valerio Sanguigni at the University of Rome Tor Vergata has patented a recipe for a gelato with antioxidant properties. Speaking to Italian newspaper Repubblica, he said he wanted to "shed some light on the jungle of substances which contain antioxidants."
That and make us all feel less guilty about putting away half a pint of Häagen-Dazs in one sitting, presumably.
According to Sanguigni's research, which was published in the Nutrition science journal, many foods containing antioxidants—substances that can prevent disease and improve heart function—lose these properties before they reach our plates. He points out that "superfoods" like green tea and cocoa beans actually conserve their antioxidants best in low temperatures.
Which is where ice cream comes in. Sanguigni created three types of antioxidant-rich ice cream following a "secret recipe" at a gelateria in Rome. These flavours were chocolate, hazelnut, and green tea.
Sanguigni then tested the effectiveness of his ice cream on a group of volunteers. They were given a blood test before and after tasting the ice cream, and asked to pedal as fast as they could on an exercise bike.
The results showed that Sanguigni's ice cream improved the participants' vascular function and physical performance. Those who ate a placebo ice cream did not exhibit these improvements.
Sanguigni told Repubblica: "Who says that health foods have to taste bad?"
Sanguini isn't the only one claiming to have come up with a miracle ice cream recipe. Earlier this year, a South Korean convenience store chain introduced a "hangover-curing" ice cream bar made with grapefruit and raisin tree fruit juice.
The Italian's study is, however, believed to be the first in the world to show that ice cream can benefit health and physical performance.
And, for the sake of our Cornetto habit, may it be the first of many.