We've all heard that there are health benefits from eating dark chocolate but a new study really shows us how it's good for our heart.
On Tuesday, researchers at meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas said they discovered specific chocolate-loving microbes in the gut convert an otherwise indigestible portion of the candy into anti-inflammatory compounds.
They say after cocoa is "digested," long molecules called polyphenolic polymers remained within the GI tract.
Researcher John Finley says, "They do nothing for us except travel down the GI tract after we consume them," Finley said. But when they encounter some of the many microbes that inhabit the human colon, particularly Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria they start to break it down.
"These materials are anti-inflammatory and they serve to prevent or delay the onset of some forms of cardiovascular disease that are associated with inflammation," Finley said.
He said that the amount of cocoa powder that appeared to produce beneficial effects was about two tablespoons a day.
Finley says get rid of the sugar and fat that chocolate candy contain, instead put cocoa powder on oatmeal, as he does.
He said it was possible that the beneficial compounds contained within cocoa powder might one day be processed into pill form, and noted that Mars Inc., the maker of M&M candy, was partially funding research into that possibility.
What do you think, does taking chocolate in a pill form take all the fun out of it?