Are you one of those people who want to get that good bacteria inside them but do not like the taste of yoghurt or those bio drinks? Me too! But now dear readers I have found a product that practically everyone can eat – and enjoy at the same time. Ohso is a dark chocolate that contains around a billion of that friendly bacteria we need. There’s more good news; Ohso contains only 72 kcals per bar and is also lactose and cholesterol free. But why should we be concerned about friendly bacteria in our guts in the first place?
In the human gastrointestinal tract is an extremely complex and diverse population of bacteria. Some are good and some are bad bacteria and whilst in healthy individuals, there is a bacterial balance between the two types in the intestinal tract, sometimes things get out of balance. This can be if we have been using antibiotics and other drugs, imbibing in excess alcohol, dealing with stress, disease and exposure to certain toxic substances. When this happens, harmful bacteria have an environment in which they can thrive, leading to a proliferation of undesirable or disease causing bacteria. This increases the risk of clinical disorders such as inflammation, infections and other diseases. The probiotic bacterial cultures in food or as supplements help the gut in re-establishing the proper balance necessary for optimal intestinal function and good health. Is it possible however to consume these friendly bacteria via chocolate?
In a word yes. One Ohso13.5g individual bar of chocolate contains around a billion Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria, this is similar to the dairy based probiotic drinks you see in the supermarket. Studies have shown that this is the optimum amount of probiotics you should be consuming in a day. Ohso have conducted their own research between their chocolate and pro biotic drinks, to see the difference of the longevity of passage throughout the gastrointestinal tract. They tested the viability of a mixture of coated Lactobacillus helveticus CNCM 1-1722 and Bifidobacterium longum CNCM 1-3470 embedded in a chocolate and milk matrix during passage through the stomach and small intestine. In addition, these results were compared with the survival of the probiotics present in an internationally sold probiotic yoghurt drink. The picture is clear: the chocolate matrix offers superior protection. The probiotics in the milk matrix were negatively affected by stomach acidity (4-times lower end-counts), whereas hardly any negative effects were observed in the chocolate matrix. They also found that the probiotics in the yoghurt drink were negatively affected with only 20% surviving the passage through the stomach and small intestine. Survival rates in the milk matrix and probiotic yoghurt drink were found to be 3 times lower than in chocolate. This offers opportunities for chocolate as a superior carrier for the intestinal delivery of probiotics.
Not to discount the benefits of eating dark chocolate as it contains cocoa flavanols which are natural and powerful antioxidants, helping to strengthen your body’s own natural defence against free radicals when under oxidative stress. These cocoa flavanols have shown protective effects on several health parameters, such as cardiovascular health, cognitive function and skin quality. Cocoa and dark chocolate also contain vitamins D and E plus many B-complex vitamins, needed for releasing energy and creating the body’s building blocks. And finally dark chocolate is particularly rich in magnesium, important for robust brain function, containing copper, iron, manganese and zinc for the promotion of cell growth, the repair of tissue and the absorption of nutrients.