It seems like weekly there is new fantastic research extolling the health virtues of chocolate. Last week we saw that chocolate may actually help diabetes and now this week we are finding out exactly how chocolate works in our internal system making it so good for us. As we spoke about in one blog post a few months ago chocolate contains phenols, an antioxidant, a compound in cocoa-rich chocolate are the same as the ones found in red wine. Now we can see how those antioxidants work!
Researchers with Louisiana State University unveiled at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) their study, the first ever to look at the effects of dark chocolate on the various types of bacteria in the stomach. Their research showed how certain bacteria in the stomach consume parts of the chocolate thus fermenting it into anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart and gut.
Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study’s researchers, explained “We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones.The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” she said. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.” The other bacteria in the gut are associated with inflammation and can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. These include some Clostridia and some E. coli.”
“When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke,” said John Finley, Ph.D., who led the work. This study was supported by the Louisiana State College of Agriculture and a Louisiana AgCenter Undergraduate Research Grant.
Exciting times in the world of chocolate! Want some now? Order online at www.intentionalchocolate.com
For more on the study American Chemical Society. “Precise reason for health benefits of dark chocolate: Thank hungry gut microbes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm>.