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Scientists finally find what makes dark chocolate healthy

After decades of scientific inquiry, John Finley from Louisiana State University and colleagues have found what makes dark chocolate good for you according to their presentation on March 18, 2014, at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Dallas, Texas.

Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley attends Hershey Tasting Event: Dark Chocolate: The New Dessert at Gary's Loft on October 3, 2013, in New York City.
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

The researchers fund that Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria in the lower digestive tract love dark chocolate. The bacteria metabolize chemical components in dark chocolate into anti-inflammatory agents that reduce cardiovascular inflammation and the risk of stroke and heart disease.

The researchers proved their concept using cocoa powder and human fecal bacteria in a glass digestive tract that simulated the human lower gut.

Cocoa powder contains antioxidants and fiber that are not acted on by digestive enzymes or digestive secretions in the upper digestive tract and are not absorbed in the upper digestive tract.

Lower digestive tract bacteria convert the antioxidants and fiber into smaller molecules that can be absorbed and used as anti-inflammatory agents and digestive regulators in the lower digestive tract.

The researchers add that eating a prebiotic like garlic can assist the bacteria that metabolize dark chocolate by increasing the rate and of conversion of anti-inflammatory agents in dark chocolate to compounds the human body can absorb.

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