The growing number of dark chocolate studies have proven just how beneficial chocolate can be. Learn about new research studies that further prove why eating dark chocolate daily is good for you.
There are many dark chocolate studies now
The health benefits of dark chocolate are all the range right now,
with growing numbers of dark chocolate studies pointing to its rich concentrations of beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants. This applies particularly to dark chocolate as it has a higher concentration of cacao seeds than milk, and it is here where the secret of its health-promoting powers lies. Certain kinds of dark chocolate, solid as well as powder or liquid, according to these studies, are turning out to be powerful superfoods that rank up there among the most anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods known to mankind.
Dark Chocolate Studies: Gut Bacterial Help Unlock Anti-Inflammatory Powers
These research studies claim that it has unraveled the specific reason why dark chocolate is very beneficial. While it is known that cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, including epicatchin and catechin, along with some fiber, it was believed that these molecules were poorly digested and absorbed because of their big size. However, new studies found that your gut bacterial breaks down and ferments the dark chocolate components, turning them into anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit your health. In particular, beneficial microbes, including lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium, feasted on dark chocolate. One of these studies involved three cocoa powders tested in a model digestive tract and might explain why the dark version has been found to be very good for the heart.
Prebiotics Can Boost Its Benefits
Researchers has suggested that eating dark chocolate daily with prebiotic might be one way to encourage the conversion of polyphenols into highly absorbingly anti-inflammatory compounds in the stomach. Prebiotics are carbohydrates found in whole foods that you cannot digest, but which beneficial bacteria can, as it acts as food for them. Unprocessed whole foods, like garlic and onions, are just some of the best known probiotics. So if you are eating right, you need to get lots of prebiotics. It would seem that taking steps to encourage healthy gut bacteria, in general, will also ensure that you have enough beneficial bacteria available to help break down and ferment the healthy substances in dark cocoa.
Dark Chocolate and Its Link to Cardio-metabolic Disorders
A meta-analysis sought to find a link between eating dark chocolate and certain cardio metabolic disorders, like metabolic syndrome, stroke, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Along with those disorders are related problems like abdominal obesity, high cholesterol, elevated fasting glucose and triglycerides and hypertension. But rather than negative effects, the researchers found that cacao, particularly the dark unprocessed raw cacao kinds, actually decreased the risk of these disorders. In fact, the highest levels of dark chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease and a 20 percent decrease in stroke compared with the lowest levels. Other research show that dark chocolate can considerably lower your risk for stroke and heart attack.
Cacao Pills and Its Effect on Heart Health
The promise of chocolate improving heart health is very strong that a three-year research on this very topic was launched by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and candy maker Mars, Inc. The study will involve cocoa flavanols taken in pill form instead of the more popular bar form. It will be the first large study of its kind to look into the potential role of cocoa flavanols in high-dose form without the added fat and sugar of chocolate. The candy maker was able to patent a way to extract flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and place them in capsules. Mars and other companies sell cocoa extract capsules but with less active ingredient compared to those that will be tested in the study.
Studies Linked to Over 40 Health Benefits
It is not only the heart that can benefit from the compounds in cacao and cocoa powder. A growing number of research has linked its consumption to more than 40 distinct health benefits. While many of you have heard of the importance of dark chocolate antioxidants, a primer might help, starting with the explanation that the formation of free radicals in the cells can damage the DNA to the point that you risk developing diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It is for this reason that antioxidant polyphenols in dark cacao is very important, as they have the ability to stop free radical-mediated oxidation. This helps increase your risk of those and other disease by interfering with one of the major preventable causes of chronic degenerative diseases.
Cocoa also has other potent plant chemicals, including anandamide, a neurotransmitter in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of anxiety and pain. The theobromine and caffeine in dark chocolate have been shown to produce higher levels of mental alertness and physical, and there are likely more healthy compounds that have yet to be discovered. So go ahead and indulge on the best dark chocolate for health benefits, and just make sure that you follow the recommended dark chocolate daily amount.