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Researchers Figure Out a Way to Make Chocolate More Flavorful and Healthier


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It is the good news to chocoholics that researchers have found an approach which could boost the taste of chocolate in addition to allowing it to become pretty more nutritious.

By some simple adjustments in the earliest processing steps, scientists have discovered that on one hand they could increase the content of health-enhancing compounds in cocoa beans, on the other, they could have the taste of such chocolate improved, resulting in its stronger sweet flavor. The work was released at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society and made public in African Journals Online.

Gobbling cocoa among human beings has been remained for thousands of years. However, it is the pretty recent time that researchers have illustrated that dark chocolate and cocoa could be really helpful to our health because of their rich content of biologically active compounds called polyphenols. It is well-know that such chemicals own various kinds of desirable characters of being antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Their consumption has been closely associated with different positive effects on huamn health, such as decreasing blood pressure as well as reducing incidence of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

It is unfortunate that some measured necessary to turn raw cocoa beans into a form applied to producing tasteful candy bars are believed to change the content of such compounds. After being taken from cocoa trees, the pods would be split open with the beans removed. In the following step, these should be dried under the sunlight and eventually roasted after being fermented in banana-lined baskets for a couple of days. The stage of roasting is vital to the flavor outcome of chocolate. However, at the same time, it could lead to the loss of some polyphenols in the beans.

Being better aware of it, researchers from the University of Ghana planned to identify an approach to keeping these fundamental compounds without any negative impact on its flavor. Therefore, they made the decision to start with the additional stage in regard to the previous process. At this new stage, the pods would be stored before being fermented. After having a thorough testing on a range of conditions, the team discovered that seven-day storing of the pods before processing as normal could lead to the highest antioxidant content.

As followed in next step, the researchers determined to find out whether they could be able to optimize the roasting process so as to retaining more polyphenols without sacrificing flavor. In a traditional way, beans are roasted at 120-130oC from ten to twenty minutes. However the team discovered that if the prods were roasted at a lower temperature for 45 minutes, antioxidant activity of the beans would be much improved. In addition, the combination of this new roasting technique with the storage step would greatly enhance antioxidant activity and polyphenol content in beans. As a result of production by this new approach, the chocolate would become much sweeter as well.

It is believed by the researchers that such positive effects are the results that the storage stage enabled the beans to be more contacted with the sweet surrounding pulp, thus changing the beans’ biochemical and physical properties.

According to Emmanuel Afoakwa, the leading researcher of the team, it was much helpful to the fermentation process, enhancement antioxidant capacity of the beans and the taste. It is predicted that this technique could have special meanings to the countries in which cocoa beans have a less strong flavor with lower antioxidant activity, for example, the countries in Latin America. At present, Afoawka is planning to continue his efforts in further scrutinizing different storage and roasting techniques so as to allow the process to be optimized as expected.