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The benefits of dark chocolate may lie in your gut.

The benefits of dark chocolate may lie in your gut.

Dark, cocoa-rich chocolate has been ascribed many health benefits throughout the years. From boosting heart health to elevating mood, there are plenty of reasons to rationalize eating a piece or two of this decadent treat after dinner. One potential  reason for these reported benefits is that dark chocolate is rich in a family of antioxidants called flavonoids, which protect cells from the damage done by free radicals. Now, the American Chemical Society has published a new study investigating the exact mechanisms that might make dark chocolate so great.

According to a recent press release, scientists found that the documented advantages of eating dark chocolate may be linked to gut health.

"The good microbes [in the gut], such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate," explained Maria Moore of Louisiana State University. "When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory."

The researchers tested three different types of cocoa powder and evaluated how this food was processed throughout the digestive tract. They discovered that the fibrous parts of cocoa that were not otherwise digested were fermented by colon cells, resulting in the beneficial compounds.

Though inflammation is the immune system's natural re​sponse to foreign matter and potential threats, this reaction can sometimes do more harm than good. In fact, this internal swelling has been linked to chronic illnesses including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. As such, compounds that may counteract inflammation can potentially be tapped to help treat a wide array of serious illnesses. Curcumin, the bioactive ingredient in turmeric, has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Click here to read more information about Nutrivene Longvida Curcumin.