Scientists Discover Why Dark Chocolate Is So Good For You In Most Delicious Research Project Ever
By: Erin Ruberry
Now you have a scientific excuse to dive into your daily chocolate fix: researchers have found the reason dark chocolate is so healthy for you.
Research presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society reveals that microbes in the gut consume the chocolate and convert it into heart-healthy anti-inflammatory compounds.
"We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones," Maria Moore, one of the study's researchers, explained.
"The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory."
Inflammation has been linked to heart disease and stroke although, according to the American Heart Association, "[e]xactly how inflammation plays a role in heart attack and stroke remains a topic of ongoing research."
Before grabbing the nearest chocolate bar or scooping a bowl of chocolate ice cream, it's important to note that the health benefits are directly linked to cocoa powder and not a sugar- and milk-laden chocolate bar; lead researcher John Finley recommends sprinkling a little cocoa powder on top of oatmeal.
He also noted that combining dark chocolate with fruits like pomegranates and açaí could reap even more health benefits.
Learn more about how cocoa beans are made:
Photo credit: Quanthem/Veer