Food Bioscience: dark chocolate supports growth of beneficial gut bacteria

March 28, 2024  18:29

Researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia have revealed that dark chocolate serves as food for beneficial intestinal bacteria, thereby stimulating and supporting the digestive process. Enriching chocolate with probiotics (live bacteria) can enhance this positive effect. The results were published in the journal Food Bioscience.

Scientists say that dark chocolate has health benefits. In particular, it is able to restructure the diversity and abundance of bacteria to normalize the work of the intestine. The fact is that cocoa, the main constituent of dark chocolate, acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are components of food that are not digested and assimilated in the upper parts of the gastrointestinal tract. They are processed by the beneficial microflora in the large intestine.

This positive effect can be enhanced by adding probiotics - live microorganisms that benefit the host when administered in adequate amounts - to chocolate. In the study, scientists enriched dark chocolate (contains 70% cocoa) and milk chocolate (contains 45% cocoa) with probiotics. It turned out that its consumption supported the production of beneficial digestive by-products, also known as post-biotics.

Also, chocolate enriched with probiotics promotes the synthesis of beneficial fatty acids that regulate appetite and energy homeostasis.

The authors of the study emphasized that regular, factory-made chocolate can also be good for the body. They recommended choosing dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70 percent and eating it in moderation.

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