(Natural News) Cocoa can protect against an influenza infection by activating the body’s natural immunity and enhancing immune response, according to a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
The study, conducted by researchers in Japan, looked the protective effect of cocoa on the influenza virus using both laboratory testing and clinical trials. Cocoa has been previously reported to contain biologically active ingredients that have antimicrobial activity. (Related: Hot chocolate enhances memory, modulates immune cells.)
The researchers prepared a cocoa extract using defatted cocoa powder with boiling water. They used the extract to treat Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells infected with human influenza virus A (H1N1, H3N2), human influenza virus B, and avian influenza viruses (H5N1, H5N9). They also used the extract in mice administered with a lethal dose of influenza virus. In human intervention trials, one group of participants consumed cocoa for three weeks, while the other did not.
The results revealed that cocoa extract inhibited viral adsorption in the MDCK cells. In the animal experiments, the cocoa extract significantly improved survival in mice. In human intervention trials, the consumption of cocoa increased neutralizing antibodies against the influenza virus, as well as natural killer cell activity.
Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that consumption of cocoa activates the body’s natural immunity and enhances immune response, providing stronger protection against influenza virus infection and diseases.
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Cocoa powder is made from crushed and defatted cocoa beans. In the 16th century, the Spaniards introduced cocoa to Europe and rapidly became popular as a health-promoting medicine. Today, research has proven that it contains important compounds that can be beneficial to health. Here are some of the health and nutrition benefits of cocoa:
When incorporating cocoa to your diet, make sure it is unprocessed and of high-quality. You can add cocoa to your diet by eating dark chocolate, drinking hot or cold cocoa, adding it to smoothies, using it in puddings, sprinkling it over fruit, or adding it to your favorite granola bar mixture.
Read more news stories and studies on the natural medicines against viruses by going to AlternativeMedicine.news.