Review: health effects of cocoa flavonoids
Sommaire de l'article
Flavonoids are phenolic substances widely found in fruits and vegetables. Many epidemiological studies associate the ingestion of flavonoids with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. These effects are due to the physiological activity of flavonoids in the reduction of oxidative stress, inhibiting low-density lipoproteins (LDL) oxidation and platelet aggregation, acting as vasodilators in blood vessels, inhibiting the adherence of monocytes to the vascular endothelium, promoting fibrinolysis, acting as immunomodulators and anti-inflammatory agents and as inhibitors in the different phases of tumour process. Cocoa is an important source of polyphenols, which comprise 12-18% of its total weight on dry basis; the major phenolic compounds are epicatechin, proanthocyanidins and catechin. ne levels of flavonoids contained are higher than the ones founds in apples, onions or wine, foods known for their high amount of phenolic compounds. Cocoa and cocoa products are important sources of flavonoids in our diet. In the Dutch population chocolate contributes up to 20% of the total flavonoid intake in adults, and in children the percentage is even higher. The bioavailability of these compounds depends on other food constituents, and their interaction with the food matrix. This article reviews current evidence on the health effects of cocoa flavonoids in our diet. The compiled data supports the premise that the consumption of cocoa flavonoids is beneficial to human health.