Study Reveals Cocoa Promotes Immune Health

Cocoa is a food relatively rich in polyphenols, which makes it a potent antioxidant. Not only has it been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, brain functions, and cancer prevention, it has been shown to support the immune system.

Preclinical studies (performed 10 years ago) showed for the first time the in vivo influence of a cocoa diet on the immune system. These studies were performed on rats that were fed a diet containing 10% cocoa in food intake for 3 weeks. Results showed that the 10% cocoa-enriched diet, was able to decrease serum immunoglobulin. A further analysis showed that 3-week-old rats fed a 10% cocoa diet for 3 weeks resulted in attenuated levels of IgG2b antibodies but increased levels of IgG2a.

Moreover, it was observed that the minimum dose to achieve such an effect was 5% cocoa, the effects being clearer when animals were younger and the diet lasted longer. Therefore, these studies showed that a cocoa influences systemic immunoglobulin production, but the effect depends on the antibody isotype and the length of the cocoa intervention.

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