Wake Up Call

Chocolate's Health Benefits Linked to Gut Microbes

After being the bearer of bad tequila news when we discussed why tequila probably won't help you fight diabetes or obesity, we're happy to bring some good news in the world of guilty pleasures. Well, actually, calling chocolate a guilty pleasure might not even be accurate at this point anymore, due to the mounting evidence that shows its health benefits in even daily moderation. But just how is chocolate healthy?

See Also: Popcorn and Chocolate: Some Wisdom Before You Start Scarfing It Down in the Name of Health

NPR reports that microbes in the human digestive system actually break down cocoa powder and turn it into two helpful, healthful compounds. The molecules have been found to both keep the heart healthy and reduce inflammation. Other noted benefits of the chocolatey compound include reducing stress on blood vessels and helping the body know when it's full.

While the article goes on to say that your standard Hershey bar doesn't quite fit the bill for the study, we're sure a local chocolatier like StoneGrindz, which uses heirloom cacao from Ecuador in its decadent dark chocolate, would pass for healthy. Even if it didn't, that won't stop us from eating it -- in moderation, of course.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch