Our news this week features some exciting information about chocolate, an update on the role wheat plays in chronic health and in case you missed it, a link to our October student webinar about BANT local networks.
Two surprising advantages to eating chocolate
We students are not unused to using chocolate to help keep us going and buoyed up as we learn. For most of us, consumption of the rich, dark sweet peaks as assignments are due. So you may be pleased to learn that we have unearthed two papers that highlight cocoa’s protective effect on the brain and skin*.
In addition to cocoa’s more widely-known compounds such as caffeine, theobromine and other antioxidant flavonoids, a recent review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology indicates that cocoa has many beneficial actions on the brain. Astrid Nehlig writes that epicatechin, and other flavonoids, stimulate the flow of blood to the brain. Also, mainly in areas responsible for learning and memory, epicatechin induces the growth of new blood vessels and changes in the shape and structure of neurones. Plus, flavonoids appear to interact with signalling cascades that involve protein and lipid kinases, and as a consequence, inhibit neurone death via apoptosis and enhance neuronal survival and plasticity in the the synapse. Read more here.
Furthermore, although a clear mechanism is still yet to be determined, the phytochemicals found in cocoa and cocoa products have been associated with maintaining skin health. Another review, this time in Nutrients, outlines that the antioxidants in cocoa may have many protective qualities for skin health and phytoprotection. It is found that the active compounds in cocoa may reduce inflammation. Researchers have also determined that the polyphenols, especially flavanols, defend against pathogens and ultra violate (UV) damage, procyanidins protect the skin internally by fighting oxidative stress, while theobromine scavenges reactive oxygen species in the skin generated from exposure to UV light. Click here to read more, because the list does go on.
*of course, to get the best effects it has to be good quality dark chocolate, preferably more than 70% cocoa solids.
New research linking wheat proteins to chronic ill health
Information that should help us better understand Non Gluten Wheat Sensitivity (NGWS) has recently been presented to United European Gastroenterology (UEG) at UEG Week 2016 in Vienna, an annual meeting of leading GI scientists and practitioners. Amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) are proteins found in wheat and which are now known to induce an innate immune reaction. The consumption of ATIs can also lead to inflammation developing in places outside the gut, such as the kidneys, spleen, lymph nodes and brain. They can also worsen conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. It is thought this happens by activating toll-like receptor 4 of monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells in the gut mucosa. Click here for more information.
Link to the October student webinar
This month’s webinar on Tuesday 18th October, presented by Abir Hamza-Goodacre, highlights lots of useful benefits to joining BANT local groups. Don’t worry if you missed it because we have the link to this and all previous student webinars here.
Keep a look out for the October Student Spotlight which is being published on Friday. This month it features Claire Foss, a third year student from The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in Richmond. View it here.
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