Can Cocoa Help With CIDP?
Cocoa is what chocolate is made out of, but studies show that clean cocoa could have some of the anti-inflammatory and immune regulating benefits of green tea.
By Shiraz Abbas
My gut is very sensitive. I need to be careful with what I consume, especially things that bring about inflammation. As many of you experienced, alcohol seems to be a big culprit when it comes to potentially causing flare ups and inflammation in the body, the core reason why we have CIDP anyways.
Deciding what to drink in the morning is a matter of health. Too much caffeine doesn’t settle with me and milk isn’t always settling either but I need something to drink that is hot in the morning and I need it to be filling. Tea is good, but it’s not filling.
So recently I got a box of unsweetened cocoa powder. Since milk is bothersome due to its protein, I’m using half-half creamer as a milk substitute. Although half-half is still milk, it’s made from the cream of the milk so it doesn’t have all that milk sugar and protein that can irritate people who have inflammation.
And yes, it’s filling! And yeah, although it has lots of calories, it has no carbs, something which irritates many people who have chronic inflammation in their bodies.
So what I do? I make myself hot chocolate: half-half, unsweetened cocoa powder and stevia. It’s super tasty and filling and best of all, it didn’t make my symptoms worse!
Now the question I asked myself is this: can cocoa powder actually be good for me? After some research, it seems that cocoa powder is good for regulating the immune system and downing inflammation in the body.
Just look at what some recent research is saying:
Cocoa is a food relatively rich in polyphenols, which makes it a potent antioxidant. Due to its activity as an antioxidant, as well as through other mechanisms, cocoa consumption has been reported to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, brain functions, and cancer prevention. Furthermore, cocoa influences the immune system, in particular the inflammatory innate response and the systemic and intestinal adaptive immune response. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that a cocoa-enriched diet modifies T cell functions that conduce to a modulation of the synthesis of systemic and gut antibodies.
In this regard, it seems that a cocoa diet in rats produces changes in the lymphocyte composition of secondary lymphoid tissues and the cytokines secreted by T cells. These results suggest that it is possible that cocoa could inhibit the function of T helper type 2 cells, and in line with this, the preventive effect of cocoa on IgE synthesis in a rat allergy model has been reported, which opens up new perspectives when considering the beneficial effects of cocoa compounds.
These are large chunks of paragraphs, but the gist of it all is this: cocoa has lots of polyphenols which is a chemical that is also present in green tea. We saw how polyphenols in green tea can help regulate immune function and reduce inflammation in the body and as such, we concluded that green tea can be beneficial for CIDP.
Isn’t it great news that cocoa (without the added sugar!) can have a similar anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating effect on your CIDP like green tea does?
Try out my recipe and see if it works.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.