There are many natural functional foods in virtually every food group. As we all know, chocolate itself is a functional food if it contains sufficient antioxidants and flavonoids. However, it is now possible for manufacturers to create functional foods by fortifying and enhancing their products to give them added health benefits never before possible. A new growing segment of functional food is called “probiotics."
Probiotic means “fit for life”, or “pro life." Probiotics are living microorganisms which when administered effectively in adequate amounts confer health benefits. The adult intestinal tract is home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms. More than 400 different bacterial species have already been identified in the intestinal tract.
First, in order to be effective Probiotics must contain bacteria which are resistant to stomach acids and bile salts. Secondly, the bacteria must have the capacity to compete successfully with the indigenous intestinal bacteria. So, either the bacteria must be protected by the use of encapsulation techniques, or new types of foods must be developed which offer increased protection for the bacteria. The key to the effectiveness of probiotic treatment is for the bacteria to be able to pass through the stomach and the small intestines reaching the large intestines with sufficient strength to colonize and flourish.
SHIME stands for “The Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem." This in vitro system was created to simulate the activities and conditions found in the stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. This enables scientists to monitor the quantity of bacteria that survive the journey to the large intestines. And, it also enables them to monitor the development of the bacterial colonies in the large intestines.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 95 million Americans suffer from digestive problems. Some 60 million have heartburn, 50 million have irritable bowel syndrome, and 20 million suffer from stomach ulcers.
Many, many new probiotic products have been launched in North America and Europe. But, we have a distinct advantage. Chocolate appears to be the ideal delivery system for probiotics.
The Xoçai™ XoBiotic™ chocolate will be in the form of an 11-gram square and will deliver 1 billion micoorganisms of two types- Lactobacillus Helveticus R0052 and Bifido Bacterium Longum R0175. These probiotics have been selected for our probiotic chocolate because of their stability in of dark chocolate and their guaranteed shelf life equal to the shelf life of the chocolate itself, if properly stored as recommended for all Xocai products (40 degrees F- 75 degrees F). By marrying the health benefits of dark chocolate with those of these two probiotic cultures, which have a positive influence on immune and gut health, we gain new opportunities with health-conscious consumers.