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Chocolate for gut health: Another excuse to eat the stuff (like you needed it)

By Marie-Antoinette Issa |


IQS - Chocolate for gut health: Another excuse to eat the stuff (like you needed it)

We’re on top of this gut-health trend like a crowd of hungry shoppers who have spotted kale on sale at their Saturday farmers markets.

We’ve exposed the obvious suspects: fermented food; gelatin; and bone broth but what if we told you that dark chocolate is also crashing the probiotic party (in a good way)?

Dark chocolate for the win

Despite panicked preconceptions, most people are pleasantly surprised that they can (conditionally!) still eat chocolate when they quit sugar. In fact, if you’re eating pure and simple chocolate – with minimal sugar, no added nasties and in the raw form (ie as cacao), then you’ll reap a range of health benefits including: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; protected nervous system and lower blood sugar levels.

One of the additional perks that we stumbled across during our gut-researching journey of late? According to the International Journal of Food Microbiology, chocolate is a probiotic.

But why do we even care?

Let’s go over this probiotic thing again: probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms. When you have a diet rich in probiotic bacteria they help inoculate your belly with even more good bugs. More good bugs = better guts. And as we’re learning, better overall health.

And how does chocolate for gut health work, exactly?

When it comes to gut microbiome, dark chocolate is the business. Researchers from Louisiana State University suggest that with when you eat dark chocolate, the bacteria in your gut break down the compounds that are otherwise difficult to digest and absorb, and then ferment it.

One study researcher Maria Moore, describes the process as follows: “We found that the good microbes, feast on chocolate. And when you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.”

Well, there you have it people, reasons to eat chocolate #1223. Just in case you needed a little more convincing…

What’s your favourite way to eat raw, dark chocolate (aka without all the nasties)?

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