Background: Numerous popular media sources have developed lists of "Super Foods" and, more recently, "Super Fruits". Such distinctions often are based on the antioxidant capacity and content of naturally occurring compounds such as polyphenols within those whole fruits or juices of the fruit which may be linked to potential health benefits. Cocoa powder and chocolate are made from an extract of the seeds of the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. In this study, we compared cocoa powder and cocoa products to powders and juices derived from fruits commonly considered "Super Fruits".
Results: Various fruit powders and retail fruit products were obtained and analyzed for antioxidant capacity (ORAC (μM TE/g)), total polyphenol content (TP (mg/g)), and total flavanol content (TF (mg/g)). Among the various powders that were tested, cocoa powder was the most concentrated source of ORAC and TF. Similarly, dark chocolate was a significantly more concentrated source of ORAC and TF than the fruit juices.
Conclusions: Cocoa powder and dark chocolate had equivalent or significantly greater ORAC, TP, and TF values compared to the other fruit powders and juices tested, respectively. Cacao seeds thus provide nutritive value beyond that derived from their macronutrient composition and appear to meet the popular media's definition of a "Super Fruit".