Cocoa isn’t just delicious – studies show it fights fatigue, too

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Cocoa isn’t just delicious – studies show it fights fatigue, too(NaturalHealth365) Turns out that a warm cup of (any drink) flavored with cocoa is more than just a tasty treat. It has some big health benefits, too.

In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry found that it can help treat fatigue in people who suffer with multiple sclerosis (MS).  Before we get into the details about this condition (and the benefits of cocoa), it should be noted that MS has also been linked to toxicity issues like, aspartme poisoning.

Editor’s note: If you know anyone suffering with MS, I urge you to share this NaturalHealth365 Podcast – which clearly outlines the dangers of aspartame – especially as it relates to MS.

MS is a disease that impacts the central nervous system.  Symptoms can include numbness, muscle weakness, problems concentrating, poor coordination and balance, chronic pain, and fatigue.

Nine out of 10 people living with MS report dealing with significant mental and physical fatigue. Since this fatigue is complex and has many causes, no other (conventional) treatment approaches have offered long-term relief to people with MS.  And, while researchers note that larger studies should be done, this small study showed that a simple dietary approach provides a step in the right direction in helping those in need.

How cocoa helps people with MS

Cocoa contains plant compounds known as flavonoids. Other studies have shown that flavonoids have anticancer, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory benefits.  In this study, researchers wanted to look closer at how these flavonoids worked for treating fatigue.

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One group of people with MS were given cocoa rich in flavonoids daily for six weeks. The other group drank a low-flavonoid version of the drink.

After the six weeks, multiple sclerosis patients drinking the high-flavonoid cocoa saw a 45% improvement in their alertness and levels of fatigue. They also saw an 80% increase in their walking speed.  Participants also reported that they experienced less pain after drinking the high-flavonoid cocoa.

According to the study’s authors, “Our study establishes that the use of dietary interventions is feasible…the use of dietary approaches to reduce fatigue and associated factors in people with MS may be an easy, safe, cost-effective way to have an impact on quality of life…”

A really good reason to love your dark chocolate treat

This isn’t the first time that cocoa has been linked to reduced fatigue. Previous research found that dark chocolate – which includes cocoa – helped improve self-reported fatigue in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome.  Along with lower levels of fatigue, mental health and overall function improved as well.

Yet another study published in Food & Function found that consuming dark chocolate improved exercise capacity. Once again, cocoa is shown to improve energy levels.

Fatigue is a symptom that comes with many illnesses, not just multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome. This recent study, as well as previous research, show that cocoa – whether you get it in hot cocoa or dark chocolate – offers a natural, safe way to reduce fatigue.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide: try adding a piece of 70-90% cocoa dark chocolate to your diet – each day – to experience the difference yourself.  Remeber, the higher the percentage of ‘dark’ chocolate – the more bitter it will taste.

Sources for this article include:

BMJ.com
MedicalNewsToday.com
NIH.gov
NIH.gov