Chocolate: A Natural Anti-Diarrheal

As you know, a growing number of studies have found the wonderful natural chemicals contained in cocoa beans can do great things for your health and heart. Recent research has confirmed the value of cocoa as a natural treatment for diarrhea, a practice that dates back to the 16th Century.

Scientists tested cocoa extract and flavonoids in cell cultures similar to the lining of intestines. Cocoa flavonoids were found to bind to and inhibit an intestinal protein (CFTR) that regulates secretions in the small intestine, thus preventing fluid loss.

The trick to remember about chocolate: Not just any kind will do. By far, the best choice is dark chocolate, as it has antioxidant properties that can protect the body from damaging oxidative stress. Adding milk to the process -- meaning the milk chocolate bars you find at most grocery stores -- cancels out the antioxidant benefits of chocolate.

Just remember, if you want to eat chocolate safely, restrict your intake to dark, organic chocolate, consume it only in moderation and stay away from it if you're dealing with serious health issues like obesity or diabetes.

Also, you can get most of the same benefits minimally processed chocolate provides by eating blueberries, grapes and most all vegetables.

Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 135, No. 10, October 2005: 2320-2325

Science Daily October 2, 2005

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