April 28, 2014
Sometimes a piece of news comes along which sounds too good to be true, like a glass of red wine being good for your health. Well, that happened again last month at a meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), where a study was presented showing that not only is dark chocolate good for your health, but the reason it is so good for you may be due to our friend, the humble probiotic. Now that’s news that we like to hear!
Scientists have for a long time believed that chocolate has beneficial properties, but have never been quite sure why. The findings unveiled at the ACS National Meeting in Dallas in March might have found the tasty secret.
Cocoa is rich in polyphenols – these are powerful antioxidants that are good for the heart, and have also shown promise in cancer prevention. The trouble is the body does not absorb them easily because the molecules are large and difficult for the digestive system to break down.
However, it turns out that the beneficial bacteria in our intestines may enjoy chocolate just as much as humans do. The researchers created an “artificial digestive tract” to simulate the human system. They introduced a variety of different cocoa powders and observed how the bacteria processed them. As expected, the fiber and antioxidant compounds were poorly digested for the most part, and then when they reached the colon, the beneficial bacteria went to work, breaking down the large molecules into smaller structures that are more easily absorbed and allow the anti-inflammatory goodness to be released into the bloodstream.
The next stage of the research will examine the health benefits of combining chocolate with other well-regarded fruits such as pomegranates and acai berries. That’s certainly research that we can all get behind! Meanwhile, the gut microbiota is proven once again to be important to our overall health. We should always take care to promote healthy probiotic bacteria supplementation for our gut as that will prove beneficial more ways than one.
The post Probiotics and Chocolate – The Perfect Combination? appeared first on Natren Probiotics Blog.
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