Researchers discovered that cacao and green tea may be beneficial for patients diagnosed with diabetes as these natural remedies may help prevent complications associated with the disease.

In a new study by researchers from Campinas State University (UNICAMP), it was found that the naturally-occurring ingredients may specifically target kidney diseases and damages to the retina of the eye, which are well known to result from diabetes.

The experiment, which was supported by the Sao Paulo State Research Support Foundation, was conducted on rodents that were induced to have diabetes. Cells of both rodents and humans subjected to high levels of glucose to imitate diabetes were also included in the tests.

The findings of the study showed that both cacao and green tea were effective in decreasing the incidence of podocyte deaths. Podocytes are the specialized cells that curb the transport of proteins to the urine.

"The transfer of albumin to urine is the main renal disorder in a patient with diabetes," said Jose Butori Lopes de Faria, the study coordinator.

Both cacao and green tea were also found to contain polyphenols. According to experts, these compounds give the natural remedies the ability to help prevent diabetes complications.

Specifically, researchers discovered that cacao contains other substances that can possibly contribute to its positive impacts on diabetes patients. One of these components is theobromine, an alkaloid that stimulates the nervous system.

In the past, the favorable impacts of theobromine in diabetes management have not been identified in any specialized publications, said Jacqueline Mendonca Lopes de Faria, an ophthalmologist from UNICAMP.

Green tea is known to protect individuals from heart diseases, improve digestion, repair wounds, control bleeding and enhance mental health. Cacao, on the other hand, is recognized for its ability to decrease systolic blood pressure and disrupt the development of cancer.

Ultimately, both cacao and green tea are recognized to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties - their most prominent health benefits.

Photo: Giulian Frisoni | Flickr

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