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Thank Your Gut Bacteria For Making Chocolate 'Healthy'

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Boy, it's a good time to be a dark chocolate lover.

We've noted before the growing evidence that a daily dose of the bitter bean may help reduce blood pressure. There also seems to be a link between a regular chocolate habit and lower body weight.

Now scientists are offering an explanation for just why cocoa powder may be good for the heart and waistline. The magic may reside in our microbes.

The friendly bacteria in our guts can gobble up cocoa powder and turn it into compounds known to help the heart, food scientists from Louisiana State University reported Tuesday at the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas.

The critters also convert the cocoa powder into molecules that reduce inflammation and help tell us when we're full.

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