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Chocolate can reduce long-term stroke risk: Study

IANS  |  Washington 

Love chocolate? Here's why you should love it even more! For the first time, researchers from Louisiana State University have proved how eating dark chocolate can benefit the heart.

For centuries the health benefits of eating dark chocolate have been praised, but the exact reason has remained a mystery, until now.

Researchers have from the Louisiana State University have found out that a certain bacteria in the stomach turns the chocolate into anti-inflammatory compounds, that are good for the heart.

Their findings were unveiled at the 247th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the researchers said, "We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the intestine: the 'good' ones and the 'bad' ones."

"The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory," she said.

The other bacterias in the intestine are associated with inflammation and can cause gas, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These include some Clostridia and some E. coli, Science Daily reported.

"When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they reduce inflammation of cardiovascular tissue of the heart, reducing the long-term risk of stroke," said research head John Finley.

He said that this study is the first to look at the effects of dark chocolate on the various types of bacteria in the stomach.

Finley said that people could experience even more health benefits when dark chocolate is combined with fruits like pomegranates and acai.

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First Published: Wed, March 19 2014. 13:58 IST