New Chocolate Health Discovery
Most people don't know this, but chocolate is actually a fermented food. Cacao beans must be fermented in order to get the dark, rich & complex chocolate flavor we know and love.
Many fermented foods have beneficial stomach bacteria in them, like yogurt & sauerkraut.
So we were pleasantly surprised to discover that dark chocolate also helps improve our gut microbes, but in a slightly different way.
The findings were presented at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas.
According to the Scientific American, new research suggests that beneficial bacteria that reside toward the end of our digestive tract ferment both the antioxidants and the fiber in cocoa.
So John Finley, a professor of food sciences at Louisiana State University, and his students took the work a step further to see what else the body might be getting from chocolate and how...
They created a mock digestive system using real stomach bacteria to test what happens as chocolate passes through the digestive system.
They also used three different kinds of cocoa powder, one minimally processed, one medium processed and one heavily processed (dutched). What they found is that the minimally processed cacao produced the most beneficial compounds.
They found that beneficial microbes are fed by the chocolate and create anti-inflammatory compounds that have been linked to cardiovascular health & many other health benefits.
Daily consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa lowered people's blood pressure an average of two to three points (millimeters of mercury), according to a 2012 review of 20 different studies.
Remember to choose minimally processed dark chocolate in particular, when wanting the most health benefits from your chocolate.
Have you experienced any of these or other benefits from eating dark chocolate?
Please leave a comment below and let us know, we'd love to hear about it.
Wishing you a healthy 2015!
- Daniel & Matthew