Chocolate – even a small amount is the perfect cure for a bad day, the best dessert, and a great gift. In addition to being one of our favorite indulgences, it doesn’t hurt that dark chocolate is also good for you.
We’ve known dark chocolate is good for the heart for some time, but we haven’t known exactly why. Now two studies have revealed for the first time, what exactly is so great about dark chocolate when it comes to our health.
Research published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal showed chocolate to have a positive effect on arteries. Dark chocolate was shown to help restore flexibility to arteries and prevent white blood cells from sticking to blood vessel walls.
A separate study, the results of which were unveiled to the American Chemical Society (ACS), found that certain bacteria in the stomach eat the chocolate and ferment it. The fermenting creates anti-inflammatory compounds that help heart health.
These bacteria are the “good bacteria” that exist in the digestive tract and help convert harder-to-digest compounds into something easier for the body to absorb.
Knowing dark chocolate can improve heart health is almost too good to be true. Of course, you don’t want to overdo chocolate intake – too much of a good thing can be harmful and wipe away any of the potential health benefits.
The study shared with the ACS also suggested the benefits of dark chocolate increased when it was combined with fruits like pomegranates and acai. We think that sounds like healthy eating we could really get behind, and we’re not the only ones.
Gerald Weissmann, MD and Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal said, “The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results.”
“Until the ‘dark chocolate drug’ is developed, however, we’ll just have to make do with what nature has given us!” We couldn’t agree more!
March 24th, 2014