Real Reason for the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

The health benefits of dark chocolate cannot be denied, but the Health benefits of dark chocolatereason for this remains unknown, until this recent study. Learn about the research that proved how dark chocolate antioxidants are nutrients are absorbed in the body.

There are many health benefits of dark chocolate

The health benefits of consuming dark chocolate has been praised for so many years, but the exact reason has remained a mystery, that is, up until now. Researchers have reported that certain bacteria in the stomach eat the dark chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds that are beneficial to the heart. Their dark chocolate nutrition facts and findings were presented at the 247th National Meeting and Exposition of the ACS (American Chemical Society), which is the biggest scientific study in the world. Attended by thousands of scientists, the meeting has over 10,000 reports on new advances in science and in other topics. It is held at the Dallas Convention Center.

According to the researchers, who are from Louisiana State University, there are two types of microbes in the gut: the bad ones and the good ones. The good microbes, like lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium, feast on dark chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, making compounds that are anti-inflammatory. The other bacteria found in the gut are associated with inflammation and can cause bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. These include E. coli and Clostridia. If these compounds are absorbed in the body, they decrease the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, decreasing the long-term risk of stroke. This study is the first to look at the effects of dark chocolate on the different kinds of bacteria in the stomach.

The team tested three different cocoa powders using a digestive tract model, which is made up of a series of modified test tubes to stimulate normal digestion. They subjected the non-digestible materials to anaerobic fermentation using human fecal bacteria. The cocoa powder, which is an ingredient of dark chocolate, has dark chocolate antioxidants or polyphenolic compounds like catechin and epicatechin, along with a small amount of dietary fiber. Both of these components were poorly absorbed and digested, but the desirable microbes take over once they reach the colon. The study found that the fiber is fermented and the big polyphenolic polymers are metabolized into small molecules that are easily absorbed. These smaller polymers show anti-inflammatory activity.

Also noted by the researchers is that combining the fiber in cocoa with prebiotics is likely to improve the overall health of a person, and help convert polyphenolics in the stomach into anti-inflammatory compounds. If you take in prebiotics, the beneficial gut microbial population increases and competes the undesirable microbes in the gut, such as those that cause stomach problems. Probiotics are carbohydrates that are found in raw food items like cooked whole wheat flour and raw garlic that humans cannot digest but good bacteria like to eat. This good for the helpful inhabitants in your gut also comes in dietary supplements.

The researchers said that people can experience more dark chocolate health benefits for men and women if dark chocolate is mixed with solid fruits like acai and pomegranates. Looking into the future, the next step should be for the industry to do exactly this. The thing that consumers should focus on, as of the moment, is to look and consume the right dark chocolate brands to get the most of its potential health benefits. This study was supported by the Louisiana State College of Agriculture and Louisiana Center Undergraduate Research Grant.

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