Are you an athlete who loves to have a post-exercise cup of cocoa to help with digestive distress? While cocoa does have some benefits, new research suggests long-term daily consumption doesn’t protect you against digestive distress resulting from exercise and only has a small effect on gut microbiomes.
Why do some people get sick after exercising? They’re not sure, but one thing that might be responsible for their nasty stomachs and other symptoms is the strong impact on our digestive system. Vigorous or intense exercises can cause quite a few negative repercussions like nausea, heartburn, abdominal cramps, and other gastrointestinal problems.
More research is needed to determine whether long-term cocoa consumption can alleviate these issues. Previous studies have suggested that it could help the gut because of the high level of flavonoids found in the delicious substance.
Flavonoids enhance antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which are thought to be helpful for the gut microbes, along with having prebiotic effects on beneficial bacteria and reducing exercise-related digestive problems.
The study included 54 physically fit male athletes who followed strict training routines over ten weeks. Participants supplemented their diet with either flavonoid-rich cocoa or a placebo starch powder mixed into skim milk. This beverage was consumed daily at breakfast. The participants performed a high endurance running test at the beginning and end of their training period.
Researchers found that the participant’s gastrointestinal symptoms did not change in either group, indicating that the cocoa did not improve exercise-induced digestive complaints. Researchers noted only slight effects on the gut microbiome and plasma and fecal metabolites. The study was concluded by saying that coco is not a practical exercise supplement for suppressing gastrointestinal problems or improving the gut microbiome of endurance athletes.
Healthy digestion is an essential part of overall good health and quality of life. People who fear gas, bloating, or diarrhea may stay home because they feel trapped by these symptoms. Having a healthy gut plays an important role in maintaining a balance between mind/body connections.
Improperly digested food can also impact the absorption rate of nutrients from what we eat, leading to nutritional deprivation for our bodies.
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