Cocoa antioxidants may protect DNA from damage

December 07, 2009

Italian researchers from the University of Milan report that dark chocolate containing 860 milligrams of polyphenols led to a 20 % reduction in DNA damage in healthy people two hours after consumption. The researchers enlisted 20 healthy subjects with an average age of 24.2 into their study and they were to start by consuming a balanced diet for four weeks. After two weeks the group was split in two, with one group receiving additional dark chocolate rich in Cocoa polyphenols, while the other received white chocolate that lacks the polyphenol antioxidants.

Measurements taken at regular intervals after consumption showed that the benefits were observed relatively quickly, with increases in blood levels of catechin observed two hours after consumption of the dark chocolate which coincided with a decrease in DNA damage in mononuclear white blood cells. The study is published online ahead of print in the British Journal of Nutrition .