Cacao Powder for Diabetes
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
If you are suffering from diabetes and still want to enjoy tempting chocolate, we have come up with an exciting news. You can still perk up your tongue with chocolate flavor, cacao powder is an ideal option to go with. It is believed that cacao powder has a low glycemic index and will not raise your blood sugar levels.
Because of their potential to function as anti-diabetic drugs, natural dietary chemicals like flavonoids, which are rich in fruits and vegetables, have drawn considerable interest. Particularly cocoa flavonoids have been shown to lessen significant Type2 Diabetes symptoms.
This article details the benefits of cacao powder for diabetes and other health conditions, and the possible risks or side effects of cacao powder.
What is Cacao Powder?
Cacao powder is also known as “cocoa solids” obtained by extracting cocoa butter from cacao beans and the powder obtained is an unsweetened product. The resultant powder is bitter in taste and high in fiber, antioxidants, and other minerals.
Although it lacks the creamy texture of ordinary chocolate due to the removal of the fat from the cocoa beans, the cocoa powder still has a flavor that is similar to dark chocolate, but less sweet. Cocoa beans are obtained from a tropical tree biologically known as Theobroma cacao, and cacao beans are obtained from the seeds of this plant.
Is Cacao Powder Good for Diabetes?
Cacao powder is a good source of antioxidants and offers a variety of benefits to the body. But how does cacao powder lower the risk of diabetes? Cacao powder prevents sugar spikes due to its low glycemic index.
Studies revealed that cacao powder contains epicatechin monomer compounds that increase insulin production and regulate blood sugar levels.
How Does it Work?
Cacao powder can lower the risk of diabetes in several ways including increasing insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels, and relieving inflammation.
Cacao powder is a good source of antioxidants and minerals such as potassium which reduce inflammation and lower the risk of diseases. Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s defensive system against foreign invaders. If inflammation persists for a long time or is left untreated, it leads to a number of chronic diseases including diabetes. Cacao powder possesses some compounds with potent anti-inflammatory properties which reduce inflammation and lower the risk of diabetes.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Epicatechin, a flavonoid found in cacao, has the potential to regulate blood sugar levels. According to the results of numerous smaller trials, cacao may help lower insulin resistance and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In vitro investigations have shown that many polyphenols, including epicatechin and catechin influence glucose metabolism. The epicatechin and catechin in dark chocolate decrease alpha-glucosidase activity similarly to acarbose. These substances have also been demonstrated to prevent the gut from absorbing glucose.
Various animal studies were conducted to evaluate the antidiabetic effects of dark chocolate. Results revealed that there was a significant improvement in insulin secretion and restoration of pancreatic cells. In another study, diabetic rats were supplemented with cocoa extract for four weeks and lower serum glucose, atherogenic lipid levels, insulin resistance, post-prandial hyperglycemia, and 8-isoprostane, a biomarker of oxidative stress were all correlated in a dose-dependent manner. These studies proved that dark chocolate and cocoa extract are effective at lowering insulin resistance in animals.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Cacao's polyphenols may increase insulin sensitivity, or how effectively insulin functions in the body. Research suggests that this may in turn help control blood sugar and prevent the incidence of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity.
Possesses Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Of all foods, cocoa is one of the best sources of flavonoids and other antioxidants. It has been discovered that flavonoids have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Intestinal microbiota can be altered by cocoa polyphenols, which promote the development of gut bacteria that inhibit inflammatory pathways. Numerous studies indicate that diets high in these substances can aid in lowering the chance of contracting several chronic illnesses, including specific types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurological problems, and even obesity.
Increase Energy and Elevate Mood
Cacao powder or dark chocolate has the potential to convert amino acids into neurotransmitters. It can elevate mood by converting an amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical that boosts positive feelings. Studies revealed that the consumption of cacao powder helps reduce the feeling of depression, improve mood and well-being, increase satisfaction, alleviate PMS symptoms, and increase libido.
Boost Heart and Metabolic Health
Studies revealed that the consumption of cocoa powder decreases the risk of developing heart diseases. It is believed that cocoa's antioxidant properties can reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clotting. Flavonoids present in cocoa powder also have the potential to boost circulation and increase nitric oxide which dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Cocoa can lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders.
Improve Mental Health and Cognitive Performance
Research showed that cacao powder possesses neuroprotective and neuromodulatory properties. Flavonoids present in cocoa powder can reach and accumulate in the brain which can improve learning and memory. These antioxidant compounds protect neuron functions, improve neuronal connection, stimulate blood flow, and regulate sensory systems.
Studies concluded that the intake of cacao powder prevents brain aging and reduces the risk of memory loss, cognitive decline, stroke, and mood disorders. Polyphenolic compounds are also believed to protect the brain from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease. This is due to the antioxidant properties of these phenolic compounds which reduce oxidative stress, prevent cellular damage, and boost neuronal functions.
Can Help Control Weight
Contrary to popular belief, eating cocoa, even in the form of chocolate, may really aid with weight management.
It is believed that cocoa may be beneficial because it controls the amount of energy being used, decreases hunger and inflammation, and increases sensations of fullness and fat oxidation. A study revealed that the consumption of cocoa powder helped reduce BMA and body fat compared to those who do not consume dark chocolate at all.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
When compared to nibs or raw cacao, they are not present in cocoa powder in the same high concentrations, but they are still stimulants with potential side effects for some people.
If you are generally sensitive to goods containing these components, be cautious about how much caffeine or theobromine you eat as it can alter anxiety and sleep. Avoid offering chocolate and cocoa to pets, even in little amounts, as theobromine can be toxic to canines.
For thousands of years, cacao powder has captivated people across the world and is just as prevalent in contemporary cooking as chocolate.
Reduced inflammation, benefits for type 2 diabetics, enhanced heart and brain health, blood sugar and weight control, as well as healthy skin, are all health benefits of cacao. Additionally, adding it to your diet in a creative and nutritious way is simple.
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