The study was conducted by researchers at Louisiana State University who made use of a model digestive tract made up of modified test tubes in order to simulate normal digestion.
The researchers subjected three cocoa powders to anaerobic fermentation using human fecal bacteria and found that while they were poorly digested and absorbed, the bacteria present in our colon takes over and ferment it into useful anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart.
"We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: 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", Maria Moore, who was part of the study, said.