Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa, professor of food science and technology at the University of Ghana, announced his research team developed a new method for making chocolate with increased health benefits.
Chocolate already has numerous antioxidants believed to have responsibilities in improving cardiovascular health and boosting memory, but the new method of preparing chocolate seems to extend the range of health benefits.
“We decided to add a pod-storage step before the beans were even fermented to see whether that would have an effect on the polyphenol content,” Afoakwa explains. “This is not traditionally done, and this is what makes our research fundamentally different. It’s also not known how roasting affects polyphenol content.”
“This aided the fermentation processes and enhanced antioxidant capacity of the beans, as well as the flavor,” Afoakwa said. This new technique would be specifically useful in Southeast Asia and Latin America where cocoa beans result in a less intense chocolate flavor, with a somewhat reduced antioxidant activity, he added.
Afoakwa spent a significant period working on cocoa and his passion is finding new ways of enhancing the flavor and quality of the beans. With his team, he has been searching for current practices can be improved so farmers will produce higher quality beans.
This could be a serious game-changer in terms of candy and snack foods, particularly in a generation more aware of the importance of natural food consumption.