Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Cup of Cocoa Helps Diabetes

Time for health news that is warm and fuzzy!

A new study reported in the Journal of American College of Cardiology shows that a big mug of hot cocoa can reverse vascular dysfunction in patients with diabetes, suggesting a therapeutic potential of cocoa in this patient population.

Prior studies have shown that flavanol-containing foods, including cocoa, certain fruits and vegetables, tea, and red wine, have beneficial effects on LDL oxidation, platelet aggregation, insulin sensitivity, endothelial function, and blood pressure. These researchers show that the reversal of diabetic endothelial dysfunction with cocoa is comparable to intermediate- and long-term interventions using exercise and various medications, including insulin, pioglitazone, ACE inhibitors, and statins. They also found that over time the good effects persisted. Even if cocoa could enhance lifestyle and medication benefits in diabetics, it would be significant in how we approach this diabetes epidemic.

This study was not designed to determine the molecular mechanism of action but there is an indigenous population in Panama (Kuna Indians) that consumes a large amount of cocoa rich in flavanols. Despite their diet that also has a large amount of salt, they have a very low prevalence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer compared with Kuna Indians living in Panama City.

It is important to know that the doses of flavanol in the cocoa were much higher than what we are drinking. The high-flavanol cocoa used in this study--which provides much more flavanol than the typical US dietary intake of 20 to 100 mg daily--is not sold in the supermarket.

It looks like an opportunity for a Mars or Hersheys manufacturer to me.


Healthnut said...

Even though there maybe some truth to the study, drinking cocoa from its pure form is cost prohibitive and difficult to drink for most. It's very bitter. In the Bay Area, you can buy cocoa beans for $17/lb. and then grind them yourself to get fresh cocoa powder. But you need to soak the beans first to remove the outer shells. Then dry them off before grinding them.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Thanks, healthnut. You seem to be a cocoa expert. It doesn't sound too practical.

Rich said...

Ok, I'm swtching from coffee to cocoa...pass the Nestles please!!

viagra online said...

Think of this book as your textbook for Chocolate 101... Not only does it provide you with detailed information on the origin of chocolate, different types of chocolate, equipment, handling, etc.

Marion said...

There is a raw chocolate called Xocai. It's cold-processed (thereby maintaining 100% of the antioxidants and flavonols) and it's sweetened with a natural raw cane juice crystal (low glycemic), acai berry (also high in antioxidants) and blueberries. Tastes better than any 70%+ dark chocolates out there and has the health benefits too!

Anonymous said...

I have diabetes and have also had a post viral cough for about 10 years.----- which is worse when I go to bed.
I now drink a cup of unsweetened cocoa before going to bed which has
dramatically reduced the coughing.
and my blood sugar is reasonably stable

un sex shop said...

It won't have effect in actual fact, that's what I suppose. said...

Really useful information, thanks for the post.

Coffee, Tea and Heart Disease