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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):4057-61.

Procyanidin and catechin contents and antioxidant capacity of cocoa and chocolate products.

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Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, ARS-USDA, and Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202, USA.


Cocoa and chocolate products from major brands were analyzed blind for total antioxidant capacity (AOC) (lipophilic and hydrophilic ORAC(FL)), catechins, and procyanidins (monomer through polymers). Accuracy of analyses was ascertained by comparing analyses on a NIST standard reference chocolate with NIST certified values. Procyanidin (PC) content was related to the nonfat cocoa solid (NFCS) content. The natural cocoa powders (average 87% of NFCS) contained the highest levels of AOC (826 +/- 103 micromol of TE/g) and PCs (40.8 +/- 8.3 mg/g). Alkalized cocoa (Dutched powders, average 80% NFCS) contained lower AOC (402 +/- 6 micromol of TE /g) and PCs (8.9 +/- 2.7 mg/g). Unsweetened chocolates or chocolate liquor (50% NFCS) contained 496 +/- 40 micromol of TE /g of AOC and 22.3 +/- 2.9 mg/g of PCs. Milk chocolates, which contain the least amount of NFCS (7.1%), had the lowest concentrations of AOC (80 +/- 10 micromol of TE /g) and PCs (2.7 +/- 0.5 mg/g). One serving of cocoa (5 g) or chocolate (15 or 40 g, depending upon the type of chocolate) provides 2000-9100 micromol of TE of AOC and 45-517 mg of PCs, amounts that exceed the amount in a serving of the majority of foods consumed in America. The monomers through trimers, which are thought to be directly bioavailable, contributed 30% of the total PCs in chocolates. Hydrophilic antioxidant capacity contributed >90% of AOC in all products. The correlation coefficient between AOC and PCs in chocolates was 0.92, suggesting that PCs are the dominant antioxidants in cocoa and chocolates. These results indicate that NFCS is correlated with AOC and PC in cocoa and chocolate products. Alkalizing dramatically decreased both the procyanidin content and antioxidant capacity, although not to the same extent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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