“Super Fruits” are designated as such because of their antioxidant capacity, content of polyphenols* and other nutritional chemicals which are linked to certain health benefits. The authors present chocolate as being a Super Fruit.
The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) produces fruit with seeds from which cocoa powder and chocolate are extracted. In this article the authors portray cacao as being comparable to items usually called Super Fruits. Chocolate does go through a process of fermentation, and the cocoa products used in this study were natural and non-alkalized. Alkalization is used in many cocoa products to mellow the flavor, but alkalization destroys the polyphenols.
The authors studied fruit powders and other fruit products for their antioxidant capacity, polyphenol content and total flavanol (TF) content. Antioxidant is measured in ORAC units, and cocoa powder had the best ORAC score and TF of the fruit powders tested. Dark chocolate was a better source of ORAC and TF than fruit juices. Cocoa flavanols** have previously been noted to be anti-inflammatory, increase nitric oxide production, increase blood flow, reduce blood pressure and reduce blood coagulation.
Other fruits tested included acai, cranberry, blueberry and pomegranate. The authors noted that there was considerable variation of the test results of specific fruits from different brands.
CONCLUSION: Cacao products should be considered as being Super Fruits, as cacao is a fruit and the health benefits seem to be as good as other products called Super Fruits.
NOTE: *Polyphenols are a large class of chemicals found in fruits and vegetables which have a number of beneficial functions in human bodies. **Flavanols are a specific type of polyphenol.
Purchase chocolate which has a low content of sugar for better nutrition, and select non-alkalized cocoa products for more polyphenols. (White chocolate is not really chocolate.)
Read about cocoa polyphenols in chronic fatigue syndrome. Read about polyphenols from kudzu in endometriosis.
To see the author’s abstract of the article, click on the title of the article. Then, click on the full free text icon.