Chocolate Is Good For Your Gut.
Hold the Lectin was created to help you reach your best health potential, the lectin-free way. Living lectin-free empowers us to remove harmful foods from our diet and lay the ground work for optimizing our best health.
One way to optimize our health is by improving our gut microbiome.
The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (their clever website name is badgut.org) defines the gut microbiome (or gut microbiota) as a “vast and diverse reservoir of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which live in relative balance in healthy individuals. Research shows that gut microorganisms benefit us by producing vitamins, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria, training the immune system, and fermenting unused food. When the microorganisms within the microbiota live in relative balance, this state is called normobiosis. When this balance is upset because one or more microorganisms have grown out of proportion to the other species, the result is a state of gut dysbiosis.
Some bacteria are pro-inflammatory and others are anti-inflammatory but have different effects on various diseases. Researchers have found a direct link between dysbiosis and a number of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, obesity, type I and II diabetes, depression, and autism.3 Investigation into the gut microbiota as it relates to disease continues to show that imbalances in the microbiota can result in gut disorders.”
Simply put, if your gut is out of whack, disease, illness and ill health can set in.
Eat Dark Chocolate!
One specific way to optimize our gut microbiota is to eat dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is ‘choc-olate’ full of antioxidants and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties?
Inflammation can lead to a number of health issues, like sore muscles, headaches and even more serious diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis. While some inflammation in the body is good because it helps to ward off infection, having too much is dangerous. This is where chocolate’s flavonoids come into play because they provide antioxidant benefits.
“Chocolate is choc-olate full of antioxidants”
These same flavonoids can modulate intestinal microbiota, thus triggering the growth of good gut bacteria, which supports anti-inflammation in the intestine. How so? Certain bacteria in the stomach gobble the chocolate and ferment it into anti-inflammatory compounds.
“The precise reason for the health benefits of dark chocolate: mystery solved” study (supported by the Louisiana State College of Agriculture and a Louisiana AgCenter Undergraduate Research Grant and presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society), has confirmed that those bacteria break down some specific components contained in cocoa, called polyphenols. These molecules are too big to be absorbed into the blood, but gut bacteria break them down into smaller chemicals that can pass to the blood. These chemicals have the property of reducing inflammation in cardiovascular tissues.”
In other words, the good gut microbes feast on chocolate, ferment it and produce anti-inflammatory compounds. The microbes are feeding on the prebiotics and chocolate is considered a prebiotic.
Prebiotics are a type of fibre that the human digestive tract cannot digest. It is the non-digestible parts of foods. Prebiotics go through the small intestine undigested and are fermented when they reach the large colon. This fermentation process feeds the probiotic and helps to increase the population of good bacteria in our digestive system (gut).
Prebiotics and probiotics both support the body in building and maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganisms, which supports the gut and aids digestion.
As I always say, not everyone’s system functions the same. Our job is to know our body and its health as much as possible. We must strive to be aware of what symptoms we possess, how they affect us and how we can improve them.
Truthfully, when I eat dark chocolate, I don’t feel any different. However, given that eating dark chocolate creates anti-inflammatory compounds, improves vascular function and cardiovascular health in general, might delay or prevent diabetes and prediabetes; and given that my gut buddies love it, I’m going to consume it, everyday!
Grace Farhat, a researcher in the department of dietetics, nutrition and biological sciences at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, agrees. She points out, that we can’t be entirely sure that each person’s gut will undertake the same fermentation processes. “The composition of bacterial flora will vary in different individuals,” she says. “This will mean certain individuals [likely] derive more benefits than others.” She also says that,
“Dark chocolate could well be a preventive nutritional supplement to consider”
I like the sound of that; dark chocolate – a nutritional supplement.
Start supplementing your gut health with this delicious assorted chocolates recipe.