Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, has long been known to have potential health benefits because of its high content of antioxidant compounds. A 2009 study has shown that cocoa may also have a specific protective effect on the liver. The study found that when liver cells were exposed to a drug that can damage the liver, cocoa extracts were able to prevent the cells from dying.
According to the research, the body uses a mechanism called autophagy to remove damaged cells, which is how cocoa extracts were able to accomplish this.
When autophagy is turned on, damaged cells are ultimately engulfed and destroyed by the body before they can do any more damage.
In this instance, the research discovered that the cocoa extracts may raise the levels of a protein called Beclin 1, which is involved in the autophagic process, and that this in turn helped to shield the liver cells from the harmful effects of the drug.
The study was conducted in a lab setting, and further research is required to fully understand the possible health advantages of cocoa in people.
However, the results imply that cocoa can be included in the group of natural substances that have the ability to stop or even reverse liver damage.
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of cocoa, this study suggests that it may be a promising natural option for liver health. Adding cocoa to your diet in the form of dark chocolate, cocoa powder or cocoa nibs is a delicious way to potentially promote liver health. However, it’s important to keep in mind that chocolate also contains sugar and fat, so it’s best to consume it in moderation.