News on Wellness

Guts bacteria – The magic behind chocolate

Dark chocolate

By now, we are already familiar with the benefits of eating chocolate. We have gone a long way since the time that we thought that eating chocolate would just made us fatter.

Now, a new research may just explain why cocoa have some good benefits both for the heart and waistline. The magic behind the benefits is something very small and is located in parts where we would not think it would come – gut bacteria.
Dark chocolate
The friendly bacteria eats cocoa and turn it into compounds known to help the heart, according to food scientists from Louisiana State University Tuesday at the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas. The tiny microbes are also responsible for converting the cocoa powder into molecules, which lessen inflammation and help tell that we are full.

For centuries, people have known that there are many benefits from eating chocolate. It is a stress reliever, fatigue, broken hear, infertility and many more. But the most popular benefit is that it lowers blood pressure.

“I was holding out for scientists to prove chocolate’s aphrodisiac effect,” John Finley, guy that leads the study said. “But it’s the cardiovascular benefits that will probably pan out. Our findings are one more brick in the road to proving that one.”

The results that they get might not be the same as we get from Hersheys, but cocoa powder goes well with many foods. It is good with oatmeal. Cocoa powder is full of potent antioxidants known as polyphenols. These healthful molecules an also be found in dark berries and black tea. And people know that they help the heart and prevent cancer.

However, the one problem with polyphenols is they don’t get absorbed well into the blood. That is where the tiny microbes come in; they break the polyphenols into smaller units that can be absorbed in the blood.

Earlier study discovered that gut bacteria likes polyphenols from blackberries and tea. So, Finley would just like to see whether cocoa powder has the same effect that can be found from the dark berries and black teas.

Finley, together with some of his students conducted a study regarding cocoa powder and passed it through a device that mimics the human gut. The bacteria cover the cocoa with enzymes that are like the ones that can be found on the stomach – with the remaining material goes through an “artificial colon.”

The study is yucky in a way, but some people must do it for the good of science. The fecal from volunteers provides them with trillion of living micro bacteria that will feast on the cocoa powder. The polyphenols in the fecal is break down into smaller unit so that it can be absorb to the bloodstream. The combination of the polyphenol in the blood reduces inflammation and stress.

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