It’s been found multiple times that dark chocolate seems to promote heart health and reduce blood pressure, but researchers were stumped as to what was causing the healthy byproduct of biting into a bar of chocolate.
New research out of Louisiana State University and presented at a meeting for the American Chemical Society, says they’ve figured it out. It’s the first study to test how different bacterial microbes ferment cocoa.
The study found that there are types of microbes involved with digestion that grow to help ferment cocoa powder in a controlled environment and when the bacteria grow and ferment the cocoa they produce anti-inflammatory compounds.
“We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the ‘good’ ones and the ‘bad’ ones,” explained Maria Moore, an undergraduate researcher with the study, in a statement.
“The good microbes, such as bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” she said. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.”
These naturally occurring anti-inflammatories enter the bloodstream and help to protect the heart and arteries from damage which reduces the risk of stroke.