Eating chocolate may be the key to preventing and treating diabetes as well as several other health benefits. Now before you exit the page and roll your eyes, hear me out!
First of all, not just any kind of chocolate will do, especially the ones that are loaded with sugar.
Second of all, it’s a compound in the cocoa of the dark chocolate that has most of the benefits.
Let’s run through how something so delicious can be so healthy for you.
Chocolate and Diabetes
With diabetes becoming an ever increasing concern and one of the top leading causes of death in the United States, it’s no wonder that researchers are hard at work trying to find more ways to stop this horrible epidemic. An effective and tasty solution may have been discovered.
Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) have found that certain compounds in cocoa of dark chocolate can actually respond to increased blood sugar levels more efficiently and encourage your body to release more insulin (Hollingshead, 2017).
In our bodies, beta cells produce insulin; insulin’s job is to manage our blood sugar levels. When a person has diabetes, their body either doesn’t produce insulin correctly or doesn’t produce enough insulin to do the job of managing blood sugar.
“The… study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemisty, finds beta cells work better and remain stronger with an increased presence of epicatechin monomers, compounds found naturally in cocoa” (Holingshead, 2017).
Cocoa may enable our bodies to produce insulin more effectively.
Researchers at BYU went to the cellular level and analyzed the beta cells. They found that the cocoa compounds, specifically epicatechin monomers enhanced the beta cells ability to secrete insulin!
Additionally, at Virginia Tech, cocoa compounds were fed to animals on a high-fat diet. They found that the compound decreased obesity and increased blood glucose levels.
How? The epicatechin monomers make the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger which produces more ATP, enhances their ability to deal with oxidative stress, and results in more insulin released!
But there is a catch.
The author of the study, Jeffery Tessem, said that the compounds, epicatechin monomers, will only work if the cocoa is consumed in high quantities and without sugar! So even dark chocolate bars, that have added sugar won’t do the trick!
Based off of these finding, researchers are looking into extracting these compounds to be put in supplements or food, which will help to maintain normal blood glucose levels and may delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes!
Other Benefits of Cocoa and Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate has several other surprising benefits, here are just a few:
The ORAC value (the measure of antioxidant activity in foods) of cocoa is one of the highest-scoring foods that have been tested! Cocoa and dark chocolate have more antioxidant activity than any other fruit- including notoriously high antioxidant fruits like acai or blueberries.
Reduce Heart Disease Risk:
Dark chocolate protects against oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which results in lower risk of heart disease because less cholesterol gets to the arteries!
In fact, “in a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by… 50% over a 15 year period” (Gunnars, 2018).
Another study shows eating dark chocolate more than five times a week lowers the risk of heart disease by 57%! (Djousse, 2011).
Improve brain function:
One study looked at healthy volunteers and showed that eating cocoa improved blood flow to the brain after just five days! For elderly individuals with mild cognitive impairment, eating cocoa significantly improved cognitive function! (Desideri, 2012).
Lower Blood Pressure:
Flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate the lining of our arteries to produce more nitric oxide, causing the arteries to relax which lowers resistance to blood flow and reduces blood pressure (Schewe, 2008).
Dark chocolate has high amounts of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium! (Gunnars, 2018).
Eating products rich in cocoa have many health benefits for you in the short and long run! But watch out for chocolate that contains sugar, as sugar nullifies the positive effects of the cocoa.
Try our chocolate, cocoa-rich products: Lakanto Chocolate Bars, Lakanto Drinking Chocolate, Lakanto Suntella Chocolate Spread, or Lakanto Brownies, which are made with Arriba Cocoa Beans and Dutched Cocoa and have no-added sugar. These products help you increase your cocoa consumption in a healthy way!