Scientists have shown that by simply changing the way they store and roast cocoa beans, they can boost chocolate's antioxidant content. As an added bonus, the differently processed beans produce chocolate that tastes a lot better, according to early tasters.
A team from the University of Ghana and Ghent University in Belgium discovered that by storing cocoa bean pods unopened for seven days and then slow-roasting them at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, they can produce chocolate that's more flavorful and has a higher percentage of polyphenols – the class of blood vessel-supporting antioxidants also found in red wine.
Traditionally, beans are roasted for between 10-20 minutes at 120-130°C, but they found that roasting at a lower temperature for 45 minutes improved the antioxidant activity of the beans.
Lead researcher Emmanual Ohene Afoakwa cautions that it is only the dark chocolate that contains high amounts of cocoa. His team plans to tweak the roasting time to see if there's a way to preserve even more antioxidants and flavor.
Someone deserves a Nobel Prize for this.