Researchers Find More Health Benefits for Cocoa

Researchers Find More Health Benefits for Cocoa - In the United States, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects nearly five million women, including myself. As the most common hormonal disorder, PCOS is characterized by menstrual abnormalities, infertility, insulin resistance, excess androgen, skin issues, and as the name suggests, polycystic ovaries.

So, what if someone told you that cocoa could help in treating the insulin resistance associated with PCOS? A new study conducted by Harvard researchers is saying just that.

"Their analysis of 21 studies with 2,575 participants shows that cocoa consumption is associated with decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and improvement in cholesterol levels, among other benefits" reports Bill Hendrick of WebMD. He went on to say, "also, resistance to the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar, favorably dropped among people who consumed flavonoid-rich cocoa, compared to people in comparison groups."

Insulin resistance is characterized by some of the body's cells not being able to respond to insulin. This is the first step of the body not being able to handle sugar well.

Traditionally, insulin resistance is managed in two ways: lifestyle changes and medication. The biggest lifestyle change my doctor recommended was significantly decreasing my consumption of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. I never really ate these so it was not difficult. Examples of high glycemic index carbohydrate foods include white breads, unrefined sugars and unrefined potato and corn products. Medications, most commonly metformin, is often prescribed. I do not take medications. Metformin works to reduce blood insulin levels.

In a 2005 study conducted by the American Heart Association, cocoa was shown to reduce both insulin resistance and blood pressure in healthy study subjects. "The results suggest that, while balancing total calorie intake, flavanols from cocoa products may provide some cardiovascular benefit if included as part of a healthy diet for patients with EH", reports the American Heart Association.

The Harvard researchers are still in the preliminary stages and far more research needs to be done to determine just how effective cocoa is for insulin resistance and other health issues. The Harvard researchers also state that, "it remains unclear as to just why chocolate appears to have the effect that they found. It's also not known how much people would need to eat to get the benefits."

The cocoa used in studies is usually sugar-free, dark chocolate and not the milk chocolate candies found at most stores. This is important to note because the two are very different. To get more natural chocolate and cocoa, you would have to go to a natural foods store or talk to a doctor about where to find it. ( )

No comments:

Post a Comment