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Dark chocolate turns 'healthy' in the stomach

Published on 24/03/2014

Dark chocolate ferments in the stomach and turns into useful anti-inflammatory compounds good for the heart, scientists claim.


Chocolate can be high in sugar and fat

A research team from the Louisiana State University revealed their findings in a meeting at the American Chemical Society.

The gut microbes found in the stomach such as Bifidobacterium react with the chocolate and release by-products such as the beneficial polyphenolic compounds.

The team, led by Dr John Finley, tested cocoa powder and believed that adding fruit to chocolate would improve the fermentation process. They said that solid dark chocolate contains the same polyphenolic or antioxidant compounds.

In addition to this investigation, a new trial from the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute plans to research a chocolate pill for heart disease. It will be in partnership with Mars confectionary manufacturer and will look to patent a method of extracting the beneficial compounds flavanols into high concentration.

The trial will be led by Dr JoAnn Mason who said that the study was to see whether there were any health benefits from the ingredients of chocolate without the sugar and fat.

Dr Mason said: “You're not going to get these protective flavanols in most of the candy on the market. Cocoa flavanols are often destroyed by the processing."

Around 18,000 persons will hopefully be studied in the research; half of them will take the cocoa flavanols and the other half will be administered a placebo pill. The study will last for four years and neither the participants of study leaders will know which people are taking what during the study.

Christopher Allen from the British Heart Foundation warns that people should not be eating chocolate to help our heart just yet.

Allen said: “Though flavanols are found in dark chocolate, this doesn't mean we can reach for a chocolate bar and think we're helping our hearts.

“Flavanols are often destroyed by processing and by the time a chocolate bar lands on the supermarket shelf it will also contain added extras such as sugar and fat."

Experts recommend a diet high in fruit and vegetables as well as an active lifestyle is the most effective way to keep your heart healthy.

Your health insurance premiums can be reduced if you lead an active lifestyle and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2014


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