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Cocoa could prevent intestinal pathologies such as colon cancer
Date:1/24/2012

tly reduced number of aberrant crypts in the colon induced by the carcinogen. Likewise, this sample saw an improvement in their endogenous antioxidant defences and a decrease in the markers of oxidative damage induced by the toxic compound in this cell.

The researchers conclude that the protection effect of cocoa can stop cell-signalling pathways involved in cell proliferation and, therefore, subsequent neoplasty and tumour formation. Lastly, the animals fed with the cocoa-rich diet showed an increase in apoptosis or programmed cell death as a chemoprevention mechanism against the development of the carcinogenesis.

Although more research is required to determine what bioactive compounds in cocoa are responsible for such effects, the authors conclude that a cocoa-rich diet seems capable of reducing induced oxidative stress. It could also have protection properties in the initial stages of colon cancer as it reduces premalignant neoplastic lesion formation.

A not-so-guilty pleasure

Cocoa is one of the ingredients in chocolate. It is one of the richest foods in phenolic compounds, mainly in flavonoids like procyanidins, catechins and epicatechins, which have numerous beneficial biological activities in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer (mainly colorectal cancer).

In fact, compared to other foods with a high flavonoid content, cocoa has a high level of procyanidins with limited bioavailability. These flavonoids are therefore found in their highest concentrations in the intestine where they neutralise many oxidants.


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