Several studies demonstrate that cocoa increases the number friendly gut bacteria and reduce inflammation in the intestine.
A team of scientists from the Department of Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Reading, UK, measured higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the intestines of human volunteers who drank chocolate milk for 4 weeks.
Previously, this team demonstrated that components in cocoa can reduce the growth of Clostridium histoluticum bacteria, that are found in the guts of those people who suffer from bowel disease.
Unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate with the high content of cocoa are the closest options to the cocoa used in these studies.
A recent research by the team of researchers led by Kirsten Tillisch from UCLA found associations between 2 kinds of gut microbiota and how they affect human emotions and feelings.
For their research, the scientists analyzed fecal samples from 40 healthy women aged between 18 and 55. They also scanned the brains of participants. The researchers concluded that women with a greater abundance of Bacteroides in the gut showed the greater thickness of the gray matter in the frontal cortex and insula.
The researchers admit that the sample studied in the research was very small. Nevertheless, it is clearly seen that there’s something going on between our microbiome and the thoughts and feelings we experience.