Cocoa powder is low in fat, low in sugar, and abundant in polyphenolic compounds – antioxidants also found in green tea and red wine. Joshua D. Lambert, from Penn State (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues investigated effect of cocoa powder supplementation on obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed obese mice. Mice that were fed cocoa with a high-fat diet experienced less obesity-related inflammation than mice fed the same high-fat diet without the supplement, said Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science. The mice ate the human equivalent of 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder -- about four or five cups of hot cocoa -- during a 10-week period. The researchers reported that several indicators of inflammation and diabetes in the mice that were fed the cocoa supplement were much lower than the mice that were fed the high-fat diet without the cocoa powder and almost identical to the ones found that were fed a low-fat diet in the control group. For example, they had about 27% lower plasma insulin levels than the mice that were not fed cocoa. Further, the cocoa powder supplement also reduced the levels of liver triglycerides in mice by a little more than 32%. The study authors write that: “Dietary supplementation with cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease … principally through the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression in WAT. These effects appear to be mediated in part by a modulation of dietary fat absorption and inhibition of macrophage infiltration in [white adipose tissue].”
Yeyi Gu, Shan Yu, Joshua D. Lambert. “Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice.” European Journal of Nutrition, March 2013.
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A cup of hot cocoa may help to control inflammation-related diseases such as diabetes, suggests an animal study.
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Giving children at elementary school an extra 60 minute gym class each week significantly reduces their risk of being obese by fifth-grade.
Young men who are obese in their early 20s are significantly more likely to die earlier and/or develop serious ill health by the time they reach middle age.
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Tip #187 - Milk The Benefits
Dairy and dairy products have been studied extensively for their promising health benefits:
• Combat Heart Disease & Stroke: University of Reading (United Kingdom) researchers studied findings from 324 studies of milk consumption as predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and, diabetes. Data on milk consumption and cancer were based on the recent World Cancer Research Fund report. The team found that drinking milk can lessen the chances of dying from illnesses such as coronary heart disease and stroke by up to 15-20%. Separately, researchers from Bristol University (United Kingdom) studied data from the Carnegie (“Boyd Orr”) survey of diet and health in pre-war Britain. Tracking the lives and the dairy intake of 4,374 children between 1948 and 2005, the researchers found that 1,468 (34%) of them had died, and 378 of those deaths were caused by coronary heart disease and 121 were due to stroke. Not only did the study suggest that dairy rich diets in childhood do not contribute to heart problems later, the team found that higher childhood calcium intake was associated with lower stroke mortality. In addition, children who were in the group that had the highest calcium intake and dairy product consumption were found to have lower mortality rates than those in the lower intake groups.
• Maintain Cognitive Health: Researchers from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) studied whether foods rich in Vitamin B-12 might counter homocysteine, a compound for which high levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cognitive decline including Alzheimer's Disease. The team monitored 5,937 subjects in two age groups (47-49 years, and 71-74 years) participating in the Hordaland Homocysteine Study in Norway, surveying them for their daily food intake patterns. The team observed that those subjects with low B-12 levels suffered twice as much brain shrinkage as compared to those study participants with higher blood levels of the vitamin. The researchers observed two glasses of skim milk daily can help that raise plasma vitamin B-12 levels.