A method for the analysis of flavanols in cocoa has been developed by a team of researchers from Mars Botanical, a scientific division of Mars Incorporated, and recently published in the Journal of AOAC International.
The method identifies and quantifies the distinct stereochemical forms of flavanols found in cocoa and chocolate products.
Foods rich in flavanols are increasingly recognised for their ability to exert positive effects on the cardiovascular system, but investigations have shown that the distinct chemical structure (stereochemistry) of a flavanol influences its absorption, metabolism, and consequently its ability to exert beneficial effects.
Flavanols are a group of natural compounds that can be particularly abundant in cocoa and are also found in foods such as grapes, apples, and tea.
Dr Catherine Kwik-Uribe, study author and R&D director at Mars Botanical, said: “This newly validated method addresses important gaps in our knowledge. In particular, it helps improve our understanding of the impact of food processing on the flavanol content of foods such as cocoa – a crucial step towards the development of optimised food products to support health.
"What’s more, by identifying which flavanols are actually in the foods we eat, methods such as this enable a more detailed look at epidemiological studies and intervention trials. This brings us closer to being able to provide meaningful dietary recommendations.”
The method has been published in the Journal of AOAC International and is available online here.
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