The scientists currently are attempting to develop the more nutritious chocolate that has a higher amount of antioxidants. The delicious sweet is known to have heath benefits, not just known for its great taste. In study’s, chocolate has been known to lower blood pressure, lower the level of bad cholesterol and help to reduce the risk of suffering a stroke.
Before it becomes chocolate, cocoa passes through a complex process. At first, the pods are cut from the cocoa tree, they are split open and the cocoa beans removed. The beans at that point are white or purple in their natural state.
At his point, the beans go through a fermentation process inside banana-lined baskets for a number of days. Then they are spread out to dry under the sun.
The following step is the roasting of the beans, which brings the cocoa and chocolaty flavor out.
While the roasting process is ongoing, some of the polyphenols, or healthy antioxidants become destroyed. That is why scientists want to determine a way to keep the most amount of antioxidants possible, while enhancing the flavor of the chocolate.
A University of Ghana researcher, Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa and one of the researchers in the experiment said he wanted to see what would take place if pod-storage just before the termination process took place were instituted. Researchers were interested to see if any polyphenols would be affected during that pod storage stage.
Afoakwa said this is not the way cocoa beans are handled traditionally, so that was why their research was different.
No one said the scientist is exactly aware of how the roasting affects the cocoa beans related to their polyphenol content.
The experiment involved the dividing of more than 300 pods into four different groups; the pods then were either stored or not stored for 3, 7 or 10 days prior to being processed.
Scientists said the storing of the pods for 7 days is what resulted in more antioxidants that the other times.
In addition, they discovered that by roasting beans at 116 degrees Celsius for a period of 45 minutes the beans retained more antioxidants.