Writing about dragon fruits, we found new research on chocolate. While the findings came out of the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition, we have no reason to contest their assertion that not only is chocolate a rich source of antioxidants but it contains more polyphenols and flavanols than fruit juice.
We don’t think of chocolate as being a fruit, but Dr Debra Miller says ‘Cacao seeds are a ‘Super Fruit’ providing nutritive value beyond that of their macronutrient composition.’
What is important to understand is that even the term dark chocolate is regulated far more rigorously in Europe than in America’s land of Hershey bars. When Miller uses the term ‘dark chocolate’, we’re not certain of the standards she references.
Raw cacao powder is the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score for any food tested by the USDA. Note: ORAC scores are calculated differently by different labs. Many spices have higher total ORAC scores measure for measure. But you would never consume the same amount of curcumin and cocoa powder.
ORAC scores for the Top 10 Antioxidants Foods (per 100 grams)
1) Raw cocoa powder 95,500
2) Raw cacao nibs 62,100
3) Roasted cocoa powder 26,000
4) Organic Goji Berries 25,300
5) Acai Berries 18,500
6) Dark Chocolate 13,120
7) Milk Chocolate 6,740
8) Prunes 5,770
9) Raisins 2,830
10) Blueberries 2,400
Source: US department of Agriculture/Journal of American Chemical Society
Researching further, studies by Cornell University report that cacao has almost twice the antioxidants of red wine and three times that of green tea. Their 2003 research refutes the Hershey claim that hot cocoa isn’t a rich source of antioxidants.