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Curr Med Chem. 2016 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Cocoa polyphenols: Chemistry, bioavailability and effects on cardiovascular performance.

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Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, via Álvaro del Portillo 21 - Unit of Food Science and Nutrition, Department of Medicine Rome, Italy.


This review gives an overview of the phenolic compounds composition of cocoa beans and their modification during manufacturing processes to the final products. Recently published papers dealing with the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the different classes of cocoa phenolic compounds will be discussed. Modifications of the qualitative profile and amount of phenolic compounds in cocoa after the main processes of production chain, fermentation, drying, roasting, and alkalization, will be described. The second part will focus on some of the biological effects described for cocoa phenolic compounds in vitro and in vivo. In particular, the effects of cocoa flavanols on cardiovascular health and endothelial function have been extensively investigated over the last decades, with interesting results from nutritional intervention trials and molecular studies. A few recent updates on the role of cocoa and chocolate consumption on sport performances will be reported.


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