Dark Chocolate Aids Digestion
“A daily consumption of 40 grams of unsweetened dark chocolate for a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of gut microbes and improve digestion in humans”
Chocolate has always held the number one position when it comes to comfort foods. And though it may not be known, earlier, chocolate was used as a medicine, helping to stimulate the spleen and digestive process of the body. The theobromine and caffeine content in dark chocolate helps to stimulate the central nervous system and gives one a ‘high’ feeling – the reason why most of us crave for chocolate in stressful situations (as the body wants a boost of energy).
The Presence Of The ‘Love Drug’
Dark chocolate is also known for its aphrodisiac properties because of the chemical phenylethylamine, commonly known as the ‘love drug’ present in ¡t, which helps the brain mimic reactions similar to being in love. The caffeine content ¡s low as compared to that of tea and coffee and an extra piece of dark chocolate will help to increase the neurotransmitter serotonin levels, lifting up mood and brightening a dull day.
Dark chocolates are even heart friendly as they are rich in polyphenols called flavonoids (antioxidants), which improve circulation, maintaining blood pressure, and avoiding plaque formation.
Prebiotic Effect Of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate also acts as a comfort food for the friendly bacteria (probiotics) in the human gut. Prebiotics are carbohydrates found in whole foods that we can’t be digested but beneficial bacteria can, acting as food for them.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavanol compounds like catechin and epicatechin, which are poorly digested and reach the small intestine where they are savoured by the gut friendly bacteria. Gut microflora begins to gobble them up as soon as they enter the colon. As a result of which, the undigested fibre is fermented and transformed into anti-inflammatory molecules which the human body can absorb.
Simply put, our gut bacteria acts like a helper in fermenting, breaking down and releasing anti-inflammatory molecules. Beneficial microbes including bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria feast on dark chocolate. It helps to eliminate any unfriendly bacteria, which can actually cause indigestion problems and help increase colonization of the friendly ones in the gut.
Studies provide evidence that a daily consumption of 40w grams of dark chocolate for a period of two weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of gut microbes and improve digestion in humans. Thus, it can be concluded that a medium slab of dark chocolate (with minimum sugar) a day, can keep unhealthy gut bacteria at bay!