Dark chocolate plays a key role in producing anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce stroke risk, according to a new *preliminary study. Researchers used a model of the human digestive system to see what effect flavanols, found in three types of cocoa powders will have when passed through the model GI tract. When lactic acid and Bifidobacterum – good gut bacteria – were exposed to these insoluble cocoa residues, they produced anti-inflammatory compounds, say researchers.  When anti-inflammatory compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, which reduces stroke risk, according to lead author John Finley, Ph.D., Louisiana State University.

* Subject to change until published in a peer-reviewed journal.