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Chocolate is good for you. The dark kind that is. The one that contains flavonols which are natural substances that reduce the risk of heart disease. Research shows people who include this kind of chocolate in their diets run a lower risk of developing heart complications compared to those who don’t. However, scientists have so far been unable to put their finger on how exactly flavonols affect the human body, specifically the heart.
Recent discoveries made by Virginia Tech and Louisiana State University have a rather odd explanation as to why chocolate is good for you: the fact that it’s indigestible is what makes it work so well for our bodies.
Although research conducted by both Virginia Tech and Louisiana State University concurs that chocolate which contains flavonols is healthy to eat, it doesn’t come out clearly on how exactly the chemical affects the human body. One curious thing to come out of the study is that chocolate improves one’s health mostly by being indigestible.
This conclusion was reached by researchers at Louisiana State after they conducted an experiment using glass vessels to simulate the human digestive system. One vessel represented the stomach and the ilium, while the second resembled the colon, complete with microbes derived from human volunteers. Cocoa powder was then added to the stomach vessels and was absorbed by the “stomach” and “Ilium”.
In the end, some fibre-like remnants of cocoa matter were left after the flavonols had been digested, and these were found to improve cholesterol levels after undergoing fermentation.
These findings concurred with those of a second study conducted by Virginia Tech using lab rats. The experiment demonstrated that, after 12 weeks, lab rats which were fed on unsweetened cocoa extract in the “select” flavonol group didn’t gain weight, while those fed on regular chocolate became obese and diabetic.
Cocoa has an effect on the colon, although it’s hard to explain exactly what that is. One thing we shouldn’t expect though, according to Andrew Neilson of Virginia Tech, is for scientists to come up with a cocoa-based diet pill anytime soon. That’s because the biochemical impacts of cocoa are incredibly complex.