In a previous post, Equal Exchange Chocolate: The Real [Health] Deal, I looked at all the health benefits dark chocolate can offer. Now, interesting new research is helping us understand more about why dark chocolate is good for us.
Have you been following the outpouring of new research about the important role of bacteria in our body and its link to our health? There was very little information about how our microflora (a.k.a. gut bacteria) influenced our health until about five years ago. The new findings are truly revolutionizing our understanding of health and nutrition (think probiotics and prebiotics).
How in the world are chocolate and gut bacteria linked? Well, the cacao found in dark chocolate is a great source of food (a.k.a. a prebiotic) for "good" gut bacteria. When you eat dark chocolate, microflora ferment the antioxidants (like catechin and epicatechin) and fiber found in dark chocolate. This produces more good bacteria and anti-inflammatory compounds which fight inflammation in your body. Since inflammation is the number one cause of chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease, it makes sense why dark chocolate has been connected to health in so many different ways.
Here are some ideas about how to include more dark chocolate in your life - as if you needed them:
- Try the ever-popular Equal Exchange Organic Panama Extra Dark chocolate bar to really give your bacteria an extra challenge. It contains 80% cacao.
- Bake with delicious Equal Exchange Organic Baking Cocoa
- Include 1 TBSP of Organic Baking Cacao or two squares of dark chocolate in a summer smoothie
- Toss Equal Exchange organic chocolate chips in a trail mix
The benefits of chocolate are most powerful if chocolate has a high percentage of cacao and is eaten in moderation, at most 1-2 servings per day (1 serving = 9 squares of Equal Exchange 100g chocolate bars; there are 2.5 servings per bar). Enjoy chocolate alongside a healthy, balanced plant-based diet.
By choosing Equal Exchange chocolate, you go the extra mile to support chocolate grown by small-scale farmers who are paid a fair price. That is a real win for everyone!