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Chocolate Is Officially A Superfood

07/02/2011 13:40 | Updated 22 May 2015

chocolate-hearts-antioxidants-superfoodDark chocolate: now classed as a superfood. Photo: Getty

We've heard many times how chocolate is good for you - at least it is when you don't scoff an entire family-sized bag in one night. But the latest report suggests it could be more nutritious than fruit juice.

Writing in the Chemistry Central Journal, researchers compared the amount of antioxidants called polyphenols and flavanols in cocoa power with that in fruit power containing all manner of antioxidant-rich fruit such as acai berries, cranberries and pomegranates.

They found that, gram for gram, the cocoa had a higher antioxidant capacity than the fruit powder - which is good news, since antioxidants are plant-based substances that fight allegedly harmful (and ageing) molecules called free radicals.

The experts also compared the amount of antioxidants per serving of dark chocolate, cocoa, hot chocolate and fruit juices. What they found was that dark chocolate and cocoa had a greater amount of antioxidants as well as a greater total flavanol and polyphenol content than the fruit juices.

The bad news is that the hot chocolate they tested contained hardly any antioxidants, thanks to the way it's processed (a technique called alkalisation).

And as a result, the experts have declared that chocolate is officially a superfood (or, rather, that cocoa - or cacao - seeds are a super fruit).

There again the research was funded by The Hershey Company - which as anyone who's spent any time in the US will know is a major chocolate manufacturer (think Cadbury's, but American).

Many chocolate connoisseurs claim the best type, at least where antioxidants are concerned, is raw chocolate, where none of the ingredients are destroyed by heat. What's your favourite type?

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