Posted on Jul 10, 2013, 6 a.m.
A cup of hot cocoa may help to control inflammation-related diseases such as diabetes, suggests an animal study.
Cocoa powder is low in fat, low in sugar, and abundant in polyphenolic compounds – antioxidants also found in green tea and red wine. Joshua D. Lambert, from Penn State (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues investigated effect of cocoa powder supplementation on obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed obese mice. Mice that were fed cocoa with a high-fat diet experienced less obesity-related inflammation than mice fed the same high-fat diet without the supplement, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science. The mice ate the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder -- about four or five cups of hot cocoa -- during a 10-week period. The researchers reported that several indicators of inflammation and diabetes in the mice that were fed the cocoa supplement were much lower than the mice that were fed the high-fat diet without the cocoa powder and almost identical to the ones found that were fed a low-fat diet in the control group. For example, they had about 27% lower plasma insulin levels than the mice that were not fed cocoa. Further, the cocoa powder supplement also reduced the levels of liver triglycerides in mice by a little more than 32%. The study authors write that: “Dietary supplementation with cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease … principally through the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression in WAT. These effects appear to be mediated in part by a modulation of dietary fat absorption and inhibition of macrophage infiltration in [white adipose tissue].”
Yeyi Gu, Shan Yu, Joshua D. Lambert. “Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice.” European Journal of Nutrition, March 2013.