DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s more good news for chocolate lovers.

Louisiana State University researchers say dark  chocolate is good for the heart because certain bacteria in the gut feast on chocolate and ferment it. That produces compounds that reduce inflammation in cardiovascular tissue, which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.

WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee spoke with Saint Joseph Mercy interventional cardiologist Herb Aranow, who says this research helps connect the dots between conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

“Those risk factors, as we call them, cause inflammation, which in turn leads to plaque buildup tin the arteries,” Aranow said. “So it’s true that many of the diseases and conditions that lead to heart disease do so, at least in part, through inflammation.”

Aranow said the research is an important first step in understanding chocolate’s benefits.

“What we need to know next is whether chocolate’s ability to reduce inflammation would translate to a better outcome for people in general,” he said.

Most experts advise eating no more than an ounce of dark chocolate a day; and the chocolate should be at least 70 percent cocoa.

The study’s findings were presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Dallas, Texas


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