Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher
antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine

Lee KW, Kim YJ, Lee HJ, Lee CY.
Department of Food Science and Technology,
School of Agricultural Biotechnology,
Seoul National University,
Seoul 151-742, South Korea.
J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Dec 3;51(25):7292-5


Black tea, green tea, red wine, and cocoa are high in phenolic phytochemicals, among which theaflavin, epigallocatechin gallate, resveratrol, and procyanidin, respectively, have been extensively investigated due to their possible role as chemopreventive agents based on their antioxidant capacities. The present study compared the phenolic and flavonoid contents and total antioxidant capacities of cocoa, black tea, green tea, and red wine. Cocoa contained much higher levels of total phenolics (611 mg of gallic acid equivalents, GAE) and flavonoids (564 mg of epicatechin equivalents, ECE) per serving than black tea (124 mg of GAE and 34 mg of ECE, respectively), green tea (165 mg of GAE and 47 mg of ECE), and red wine (340 mg of GAE and 163 mg of ECE). Total antioxidant activities were measured using the 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assays and are expressed as vitamin C equivalent antioxidant capacities (VCEACs). Cocoa exhibited the highest antioxidant activity among the samples in ABTS and DPPH assays, with VCEACs of 1128 and 836 mg/serving, respectively. The relative total antioxidant capacities of the samples in both assays were as follows in decreasing order: cocoa > red wine > green tea > black tea. The total antioxidant capacities from ABTS and DPPH assays were highly correlated with phenolic content (r2 = 0.981 and 0.967, respectively) and flavonoid content (r2 = 0.949 and 0.915). These results suggest that cocoa is more beneficial to health than teas and red wine in terms of its higher antioxidant capacity.

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