Last year, we published Nutrient Signaling: Evolutionary Origins of the Immune-Modulating Effects of Dietary Fat, which hypothesized that nutrients with beneficial effects on the microbiome will evolve anti-inflammatory signaling functions.
Lucky for chocolate lovers, cocoa follows this prediction. Polyphenols, especially catechin, in chocolate generate anti-inflammatory signaling, and have beneficial effects on gut microbiota.
A careful reader might object that humans have been consuming chocolate for only a short amount of time, perhaps too little to cause selection on immune function. In fact, the catechins in chocolate are found in a wide variety of other foods. Their evolved signaling function could result from ancient human exposure to catechin containing foods other than chocolate.
Emergency Physician, Educator, Researcher, interested in the microbiome, evolution, and medicine