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. 2011 Feb 7;5:5.
doi: 10.1186/1752-153X-5-5.

Cacao Seeds Are a "Super Fruit": A Comparative Analysis of Various Fruit Powders and Products

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Free PMC article

Cacao Seeds Are a "Super Fruit": A Comparative Analysis of Various Fruit Powders and Products

Stephen J Crozier et al. Chem Cent J. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

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".

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Antioxidant capacity and polyphenol and flavanol content of various fruit powders. A. ORAC antioxidant capacity per gram of various fruit powders. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa powder. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. B. Total polyphenol content measured in gallic acid equivalents per gram of various fruit powders. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa powder. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. C. Total flavanol content per gram of various fruit powders by the DMAC method. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa powder. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Antioxidant capacity and polyphenol and flavanol content of various fruit products. A. ORAC antioxidant capacity per serving of various fruit products. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa beverage; Choc, dark chocolate; HCM, hot cocoa mix. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. B. Total polyphenol content measured in gallic acid equivalents per serving of various fruit products. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa beverage; Choc, dark chocolate; HCM, hot cocoa mix. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. C. Total flavanol content per serving of various fruit products by the DMAC method. Acai, acai powder; Blue, blueberry powder; Cran, cranberry powder; Pom, pomegranate powder; Cocoa, cocoa beverage; Choc, dark chocolate; HCM, hot cocoa mix. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Differences in antioxidant capacity and polyphenol and flavanol content between brands of acai juice. A. ORAC antioxidant capacity per gram of individual acai juice brands. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. B. Total polyphenol content measured in gallic acid equivalents per gram of individual acai juice brands. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05. C. Total flavanol content per gram of individual acai juice brands by the DMAC method. Data are expressed as the mean ± SEM. Columns not sharing superscripts are significantly different, p > 0.05.

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