A new study on living animals has shown for the first time that eating cocoa (the raw material in chocolate) can help to prevent intestinal complaints linked to oxidative stress, including colon carcinogenesis onset caused by chemical substances.
The growing interest amongst the scientific community to identify those foods capable of preventing diseases has now categorized cocoa as a 'superfood'. It has been recognised as an excellent source of phytochemical compounds, which offer potential health benefits.
Headed by scientists from the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN) and recently published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal, the new study supports this idea and upholds that cacao consumption helps to prevent intestinal complaints linked to oxidative stress, such as the onset of chemically induced colon carcinogenesis.
"Being exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and procarcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies," explains Mara ngeles Martn Arribas, lead author of the study and researcher at ICTAN. She adds that "foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease."
The study on live animals (rats) has for the first time confirmed the potential protection effect that flavonoids in cocoa have against colon cancer onset. For eight weeks the authors of the study fed the rats with a cocoa-rich (12%) diet and carcinogenesis was induced.
Doctor Martn Arribas outlines that "four weeks after being administered with the chemical compound azoxymethane (AOM), intestinal mucus from premalignant neoplastic lesions appeared. These lesions are called 'aberrant crypt foci' and are considered to be good markers of colon cancer pathogenesis."
The results of the study showed that the rats fed a cocoa-rich diet had a significan
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology