By | May 28, 2014

Another Step Forward in Dark Chocolate Science

Microbes and Cocoa

A recent study shows how cocoa fermenting in your gut creates compounds that improve blood vessel function.

According to an article in Scientific American, research has unlocked one secret to how cocoa is used by your body to make you healthier.

“Dark chocolate might pack a double positive punch for our health—thanks to the microbes that live in our gut. New research suggests that beneficial bacteria that reside toward the end of our digestive tract ferment both the antioxidants and the fiber in cocoa.”

              The results of this new research were presented to the American Chemical Society on March 18 in Dallas, Texas.

“Pereira and colleagues found that healthy young adults (of a mean age of about 20) who ate eight grams—about one small square—of 70 percent cocoa chocolate each day for a month had “an obvious improvement” in vascular function over their baseline as well as a control group. Those eating the extra chocolate saw their arterial flow (measured by flow-mediated dilation) increasing, on average, from 14 percent to 23 percent. The findings (pdf http://www.hoajonline.com/journals/pdf/2052-4358-2-3.pdf) were published earlier this year in Cardiovascular System and could have substantial implications for health on a broader population scale. “If consuming dark chocolate in moderate quantities has the ability to decrease the risk of heart disease, it could have a role to play in reducing medical costs” as well, Farhat says.

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