Cocoa for diabetes – is this possible? Recent studies show that this may be used to prevent cardiovascular ailments in diabetics. Although this may be great news, one must take into consideration the full details; the difference between pure, unsweetened cocoa and the commercial cocoa sold in supermarkets today.
The Truth about Unprocessed Chocolate
The origins of cocoa date back thousands of years to the time of the Mayans, says Dr. Joseph Mercola. Over the years, man’s craving for this grew, hence the production of several variations. Nevertheless, it is raw cocoa that contains the most benefits. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states:
“Researchers at Cornell University have shown that the popular winter beverage contains more antioxidants per cup than a similar serving of red wine or tea and may be a healthier choice.
The study adds to growing evidence of the health benefits of cocoa and points to a tasty alternative in the quest to maintain a diet rich in healthy antioxidants, chemicals that have been shown to fight cancer, heart disease and aging, the researchers say.(link)“
Another study provided evidence of this. After giving patients raw cocoa for a month, researchers saw blood vessel functions transform from severely impaired to normal. Alternate treatments that have shown similar developments were seen with exercise and other diabetes medications. Additional information asserts that it is because of a special class of antioxidants called flavonols that these positive results emerged.
A Deeper Look into Flavonols
According to studies, there is a chance that raw cocoa can prevent diabetes, heart problems, and other sicknesses because of antioxidants. Dr. Mercola further explains that unprocessed cocoa contains a type of antioxidants called flavonols. These are subclasses of flavonoids, which are found in plants, fruits, and vegetables. More specifically, pure cocoa has the ability to improve the following:
- Glucose metabolism
- Blood pressure
- Cardiovascular system
Dr. Mercola states that unrefined cocoa in itself can give all these advantages, but once an amount of sugar is added, the effects are compromised. The sweetener decreases, if not prohibits, antioxidant protection.
Don’t Think of Stuffing Yourself with Cocoa Just Yet
Various dark chocolate products have been released in the market containing antioxidants. Yet, according to Dr. Mercola, this new discovery is not enough reason for diabetics to start with chocolates. It is only because of the antioxidants that unprocessed cacao is recommended. Limited portions of berries such as strawberries and blueberries – and plenty of vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli still prove to be the best sources.
Cocoa May Not Be Enough!
At the end of the day, the promise of antioxidants present in dark chocolate, fruits, and vegetables is not enough to lower blood sugar and lessen the risks of heart problems among diabetics. Diet is only part of the solution, which involves certain lifestyle changes. These are:
- Eliminating grains and sugar
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding trans fat
- Increasing intake of omega-3 fats
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing emotional health