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Eat More Chocolate If You Want To Be Healthy

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In the words of Cathy and 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, “Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Aack!”

To its countless worshippers, chocolate is not just a delicious treat; it’s a lifestyle. So it helps to receive any confirmation whatsoever that it’s a healthy one. Brown University researchers have done their part, finding more evidence to bolster claims that compounds in cocoa are good for your cardiovascular system.

Their study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, analyzed information from controlled trials of more than 1,100 volunteers to determine whether consuming cocoa products containing compounds called flavanols improved certain biomarkers such as cholesterol levels and a person’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels.

“We found that cocoa flavanol intake may reduce dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides), insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, which are all major subclinical risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases,” Dr. Simin Liu, a co-author and director of the Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health at Brown University, said in a statement from that institution.

The results were consistent whether the flavanols were consumed through dark chocolate or beverages made from powdered cocoa. In the university statement, lead author Xiaochen Lin warned against generalizing the results to include chocolate candies or white chocolates, because “the content of sugar/food additives could be substantially higher than that of the dark chocolate.”

The study, which relied on short trials that did not directly look at whether cocoa’s flavanols reduce heart attacks or diabetes cases, could be a stepping stone to larger and more definitive trials on the subject, Liu noted. Although not all the targeted biomarkers changed for the better in the volunteers, the university said, “there were small-to-modest but statistically significant improvements among those who ate flavanol-rich cocoa products,” with the greatest improvements among those who ate 200 to 600 milligrams of flavanols a day.

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Among those who ingested smaller amounts, researchers noted a significant increase in good cholesterol, an improved biomarker that was not seen in the higher doses — those people instead experienced benefits to their insulin resistance and a drop in triglycerides, which are involved in storing body fat.

Everyone from researchers to average Joes have been touting the health benefits of cocoa products, largely dark chocolate, for a long time. It has been linked to lower blood pressure and body weight, NPR has reported, as well as serving as an anti-inflammatory and an appetite regulator.

“For centuries, people have been attributing a vast array of health benefits to eating chocolate, from curing infertility and fatigue to fever and dental problems. But so far, the links to lower blood pressure and heart health have been the strongest — and one of the few benefits to pass muster in the eyes of science,” NPR reported. 

Source: Xiaochen L, Zhang I, Li A, Manson JE, Sesso H, Wang L, Liu S. Cocoa Flavanol Intake and Biomarkers for Cardiometabolic Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The Journal of Nutrition. 2016.

24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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24 Hours Across Africa

Turkey: Group calls for immediate action against Femicide

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Emine Dirican, a beautician from Istanbul, tried to be a good wife. But her husband hated that she worked, that she socialized, even that she wanted to leave the house sometimes without him.

She tried to reason with him. He lashed out.

“One time, he tied me — my hands, my legs from the back, like you do to animals,” recalls Dirican, shuddering. “He beat me with a belt and said, ‘You’re going to listen to me, you’re going to obey whatever I say to you.’ “

She left him and moved in with her parents. In January, he showed up, full of remorse and insisting he had changed. She let him in.

In her mother’s kitchen, he grabbed her by the hair, threw her to the floor and pulled out a gun.

“He shot me,” she says. “Then he went back to my mom and he pulled the trigger again, but the gun was stuck. So he hit her head with the back of the gun.”

Her father, who was in another room in the house, heard the gunshots and ran over. Dirican almost bled to death after a bullet ripped through a main artery in one of her legs.

“I was telling my father, ‘Daddy, please, I don’t want to die.’ “

Femicide — killing women because of their gender — is a longstanding issue in Turkey. Nearly 300 women have been killed so far this year, according to the Istanbul-based advocacy group We Will Stop Femicide, which has been tracking gender-related deaths since Turkish authorities stopped doing so in 2009.

Source Npr news

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