Need another reason to love cocoa & dark chocolate?
Well you just got one, lady.
A new study out by LSU shows a very very lucky quirk about the composition of our friend the fermented, dried, roasted & ground cacao. And it makes all the difference.
So, one of the problems with actually getting beneficial compounds into you like antioxidants, polyphenols, & epi-catechins is “The Last Mile”.
You may get them into your supermarket, your cart, your mouth, stomach, small-intestine, and then maybe into your large intestine;… but Then: -Do they actually make it out to the places that actually make a difference?
-Like the Blood-Stream and your Cells…
Well John Finley’s team at LSU has stumbled-upon something so very very lucky about cocoa, it’s just got to make you smile.
For a long time, since the Aztecs and maybe before, every sort of health-benefit you can imagine has been attributed to the stuff.
-Including cardiovascular benefits.
So, in the pursuit of whether or not they’re real and have a factual basis in biochemistry, John’s team decided to go down the GI-tract and they found out that much of cocoa powder is actually digested pretty-poorly by the first 2 parts of your Gut.
*BUT, it IS very-well-digested in the part of the GI that houses the bacteria that just so happen to love it the most.
And there, those genius little buggies perform some FREAKING MAGIC!
Those antioxidants from before? -It turns out a lot of them are Too Big To Cross Into Your Bloodstream where they can -Actually- do some good.
Oh yeah, wait; -Except the ones in cocoa.
They get broken-down into smaller-bits that CAN cross into the bloodstream, PRECISELY because they’re so hard for your stomach & S-I to digest, and PRECISELY because they get to that part of the gut where their BFFs hang out the most.
And out of all the benefits claimed, it’s the cardio and weight benefits that are the ones most borne-out by SCIENCE! for now.
So Congratulations! If you wanted proof that the baby Jeezus loves us one and all, just know that he wanted chocolate to be good for you. -BOOM! You’re welcome.
NOTE: Remember, the study was done on Cocoa Powder, and not any varieties of chocolate.
And here, the general advice applies. To get the benefits when adding anything but cocoa to your diet, you probably have to get the darkest, bitterest chocolate that you can stand, like a CocoaVia, or a good 60%+ variety.
NOTE 2: I know Dutched cocoa tastes better, but that process sort-of ruins the nutritional value. Stick to the Natural cocoas, or in a pinch at least a blend of Dutched+Natural.
Check out further details at the Links:
“first attempt, pouring hot chocolate like latte art”, by Christopher Cornelius
“Yumm – hot chocolate on a winter’s day”, by flickr user Macinate