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Scientists Explain Why Dark Chocolate Is So Good For You

March 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Louisiana State University chemists recently told a scientific meeting that dark chocolate is healthful because good microbes (e.g., Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria) in the intestines “feast on chocolate”, growing it, fermenting it and producing compounds that fight inflammation. When absorbed by the body, the compounds reduce cardiovascular inflammation and cut the long-term risk of stroke. But how? It seems that cocoa powder, found in dark chocolate, contains several polyphenolic (antioxidant) compounds such as catechin and epicatechin, as well as some dietary fiber. None of these are well-digested or absorbed. But when they reach the colon, the beneficial bacteria do their job.
John Finley et al., "The precise reason for the health benefits of dark chocolate: mystery solved.", News release, presentation at the American Chemical Society annual meeting., March 18, 2014, © Finley et al.
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