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Cocoa may help fight obesity-related inflammation
Date:6/12/2013

ason for the inflammation response is not completely known. Lambert said two theories on inflammation and obesity that have emerged may help explain cocoa's role in mitigating inflammation. In one theory, Lambert said excess fat may activate a distress signal that causes immune cells to become activated and cause inflammation. The cocoa may reduce the precursors that act as a distress signal to initiate this inflammatory response.

Lambert said that another theory is that excess fat in the diet interferes with the body's ability to keep a bacterial component called endotoxin from entering the bloodstream through gaps between cells in the digestive system -- gut barrier function -- and alerting an immune response. The cocoa in this case may help improve gut barrier function.

Cocoa, although commonly consumed in chocolate, actually has low-calorie content, low-fat content and high-fiber content.

"Most obesity researchers tend to steer clear of chocolate because it is high in fat, high in sugar and is usually considered an indulgence," Lambert said. "However, cocoa powder is low in fat and low in sugar. We looked at cocoa because it contains a lot of polyphenolic compounds, so it is analogous to things like green tea and wine, which researchers have been studying for some of their health benefits."

Lambert said he expects future research will be conducted to better identify why the cocoa powder is effective in treating inflammation, as well as determine if the treatment is suitable for humans.


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Contact: Matthew Swayne
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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