Gut bacteria makes dark chocolate healthy
More good news for dark chocolate lovers. According to new research at Louisiana State University, gut bacteria in the human stomach boosts fermentation of dark chocolate and that releases anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart.
Gut microbes, such as Bifidobacterium, feast on the chocolate and release these polyphenolic compounds. Though researchers tested cocoa powder, they say solid dark chocolate releases these same anti-oxidant compounds. They even say adding fruit to the chocolate could boost fermentation.
At the same time, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is planning a large trial of a chocolate pill for heart disease. It's working with chocolate manufacturer Mars, which has a patent for a method of extracting beneficial compounds from cocoa in high concentrations and putting them in capsules. Researchers pointed out that eating large quantities of dark chocolate, however, wouldn't improve heart health because the beneficial flavanols often are destroyed in the processing of chocolate for candy bars.