Mice that were fed a high fat diet that is known to be a causative factor for type 2 diabetes (the obesity-related type) suffered less inflammation after having been given cocoa powder. Scientists assumed that such finding could be applicable to humans.
Dark chocolate is packed with flavanols, plant chemicals that enhance blood flow by widening vessels. It has always been associated with tons of health benefits. In this particular study, the mice were fed the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder, about four or five cups of hot cocoa, in a 10-week span.
Professor Joshua Lambert said: “What surprised me was the magnitude of the effect. There was not as big of an effect on the body weight as we expected, but I was surprised at the dramatic reduction of inflammation and fatty liver disease.”
Certain signs of inflammation, that brings about type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin resistance, were found to be significantly lower in the mice that were given the cocoa, and almost identical to a control group that were only given low fat foods.
The cocoa powder also lessened amounts of harmful liver fats known as triglycerides by about 1/3, and these are associated with inflammation and diabetes. Another thing the researchers were able to observe in the mice was the noteworthy drop in their rate of body weight gain.
Today, the biological activities of cocoa flavonoids are almost always linked to inflammation and impaired immune function. Cocoa may be typically consumed in chocolate, but it actually has low calorie and fat content, and is packed with fiber.
Professor Lambert added: “Most obesity researchers tend to steer clear of chocolate because it is high in fat, high in sugar and is usually considered an indulgence. However, cocoa powder is low in fat and low in sugar.”
Future studies are anticipated to further identify why cocoa is an effective treatment for inflammation, and if it can all apply to humans.
There are times we just want to devour food that we love the most, but hold back because of its unflattering consequences. However, knowing stuff like this might lessen the guilt just a little.