Dark chocolate and cocoa have more anti-oxidant capacity than fruit juice, according to a study released Sunday in the Chemistry Central Journal.
Chocolate products also have more heart-healthy flavanols and polyphenol, the study found. The good news doesn’t apply to hot cocoa mix, which is processed.
“When looking for a sweet snack, a square of dark chocolate might, in fact, be your healthiest choice,” said Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
She wasn’t surprised by the findings, noting the anti-oxidants keep arteries in tip-top shape and help prevent heart disease.
The study, conducted by the Hershey Co., compared cocoa powder and products with fruit-based powders and juices. Cocoa came out ahead on the anti-oxidant scale over blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate powder.
The differences between pomegranate juice and dark chocolate weren’t significant, researchers found.
Still, dark chocolate trumped other juices in the anti-oxidant test.
“Cocao seeds should be considered a ‘superfruit’ and products derived from cocao seed extracts, such as natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate, as ‘superfoods,'” the researchers said.