Staff Writer, DL MullanMedicine / Health
Many people consider themselves addicted to chocolate. No wonder. Chocolate helps in the production of serotonin and now scientists have found another reason to rejoice in the comforts of chocolate, especially the dark variety.
'In our study we found that the fibre is fermented and the large polyphenolic polymers are metabolised to smaller molecules, which are more easily absorbed,' said Dr John Finley, who led the Louisiana team.
'These smaller polymers exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke.'
The findings were presented at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Texas.
Combining cocoa with prebiotics - indigestible food ingredients that stimulate bacterial growth - is likely to enhance the process with beneficial results, said Dr Finley.
'When you ingest prebiotics, the beneficial gut microbial population increases and out-competes any undesirable microbes in the gut, like those that cause stomach problems,' he added.
Prebiotics are found in foods such as raw garlic, raw wheat bran, and cooked whole wheat flour, and are especially abundant in raw chicory root. They can also be obtained from widely available supplements.
Combining dark chocolate with fruits such as pomegranates or acai may also boost its benefits, said Dr Finley.
It will not only make you happy, chocolate will make you healthier too.