New process boosts levels of heart-healthy compounds in cocoa powder. ‘Scientists in Spain are reporting development of a new process to make cocoa powder with higher amounts of the healthful chemical compounds linked to chocolate’s beneficial effects. The study is scheduled for publication in the May 30 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Juan Carlos Espin de Gea and colleagues report that the new cocoa powder contains levels of some flavonoids 8 times higher than conventional cocoa. They achieved the higher flavonoid content by omitting the traditional fermentation and roasting steps used in the processing of cocoa beans. Those steps destroy some flavonoids, which are natural antioxidants.’
A New Process to develop a Cocoa Powder with Higher Flavonoid Monomer Content and Enhanced Bioavailability in Healthy Humans, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 10.1021/jf070121j (PDF, 456 KB). From the Abstract: Cocoa is a food rich in polyphenols, mainly the flavonoid procyanidins and flavan-3-ols. The improvement of the cardiovascular function in humans upon cocoa consumption has been specifically linked to the presence of flavan-3-ol derived metabolites in plasma, especially epicatechin glucuronide. In this context, a flavonoid-enriched cocoa-derived product could potentially exert stronger health benefits. The aim of the present study was to obtain a cocoa powder with a higher flavonoid content (mainly enriched in monomer compounds) and assess its flavonoid bioavailability in humans. For this purpose, an unfermented, nonroasted, and blanch-treated cocoa powder (A) was obtained.’
A Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Daily Dark Chocolate Good for the Heart, Loaded With Flavoniods.
Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids, Donald R. Buhler and Cristobal Miranda. ‘Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and certain beverages that have diverse beneficial biochemical and antioxidant effects. Their dietary intake is quite high compared to other dietary antioxidants like vitamins C and E. The antioxidant activity of flavonoids depends on their molecular structure, and structural characteristics of certain flavonoids found in hops and beer confer surprisingly potent antioxidant activity exceeding that of red wine, tea, or soy.’