Natural antioxidant ice cream acutely reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular function and physical performance in healthy individuals

Nutrition. 2017 Jan:33:225-233. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2016.07.008. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


Objective: The formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to the pathogenesis and progression of several diseases. Polyphenols have been shown to be beneficial against ROS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a natural antioxidant ice cream on oxidative stress, vascular function, and physical performance.

Methods: In this controlled, single-blind, crossover study, 14 healthy individuals were randomized to consume 100 g of either antioxidant ice cream containing dark cocoa powder and hazelnut and green tea extracts or milk chocolate ice cream (control ice cream). Participants were studied at baseline and 2 h after ingesting ice cream. Serum polyphenols, antioxidant status (ferric-reducing ability of plasma [FRAP]), nitric oxide (NOx) bioavailability, markers of oxidative stress (determination of reactive oxygen metabolites [d-ROMs] and hydrogen peroxide [H2O2]), endothelium function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD] and reactive hyperemia index [RHI]), and exercise tolerance (stress test) were assessed, and the double product was measured.

Results: Serum polyphenols (P < 0.001), NOx (P < 0.001), FRAP (P < 0.005), FMD (P < 0.001), and RHI (P < 0.05) increased significantly, oxidative stress decreased (d-Roms, P < 0.001; H2O2, P < 0.001), and the double product (P < 0.001) was improved only after antioxidant ice cream ingestion. No changes were found after control ice cream ingestion.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that a natural ice cream rich in polyphenols acutely improved vascular function and physical performance in healthy individuals through a reduction in oxidative stress.

Keywords: Ageing; Cardiovascular prevention; Double product; Endothelial function; Nitric oxide; Oxygen free radicals.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry
  • Chocolate
  • Corylus
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Functional Food*
  • Humans
  • Ice Cream*
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Nuts
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Leaves
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Vascular Diseases / blood
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vascular Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Plant Extracts