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Malaysian cocoa of chocolates: a story of antioxidants and more ....


Ismail, Amin (2015) Malaysian cocoa of chocolates: a story of antioxidants and more .... [Inaugural Lecture]


For centuries, cocoa has been recognized as a rich source of dietary antioxidants, especially polyphenols. It is known not only for its good flavour but also for its health benefits. Cocoa has ndrawn increased attention because of its antioxidant properties and marked effects in the prevention of various oxidative stressassociated diseases. In the last few years, research and development on polyphenols and extracts from cocoa and cocoa-derived products, such as cocoa powder, cocoa liquor and chocolates, has become a major area of health and medical related research. The recommended human diet contains a significant amount of polyphenols, as they are assumed to be 'antioxidants' that scavenge excessive harmful free radicals arising from normal metabolic processes. In vitro as well as in vivo data indicate that polyphenols present in Malaysian cocoa may have antioxidant capacity, antidiabetes and anti-inflammatory properties and also promote an anti-obesity phenotype. Over the last 2-3 years, there have been exciting new developments which have shone more light on the in vivo mechanisms behind the health benefits of Malaysian cocoa. Our studies showed that cocoa polyphenols not only function as antioxidants but also as non-antioxidants. Several molecular targets (e.g., nuclear factor Kappa B (NF-kB), activated protein-I (AP-I) peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and liver X receptors (LXRs)) have been recently identified and may partly explain the potential benefits of cocoa in relation to combating obesity-associated diseases. Cocoa polyphenols have been reported to regulate lipid metabolism by inducing metabolic gene expression and activating transcription factors that regulate the expression of numerous genes, many of which play an important role in energy metabolism. Further studies have been performed to investigate the protective effects of cocoa polyphenols against metabolic diseases which include acting as an antioxidant or suppressing transcription factors that antagonize lipid accumulation. Recent evidence suggests that polyphenols also have indirect antioxidant effects through the induction of endogenous protective enzymes. Evidence of potential benefits through polyphenolic-mediated regulation of cellular processes such as inflammation is also increasing, and these signalling effects may occur at concentrations which are much lower than those required for effective radical scavenging. Thus, polyphenol-rich cocoa products may potentially diminish obesitymediated metabolic diseases by multiple mechanisms, thereby attenuating chronic inflammation. Our findings from in-vitro and in-vivo studies on the health benefits of Malaysian cocoa-derived products, suggest that the intake of cocoa polyphenols could lead to reduced disease risk. Moreover, the consumption of a balanced diet that includes a variety of polyphenol-rich food sources is important for the promotion of health.

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Additional Metadata

Item Type: Inaugural Lecture
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Science
Publisher: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press
Keywords: Cocoa; Malaysian cocoa
Depositing User: Azhar Abdul Rahman
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2017 06:21
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2017 06:21
URI: http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/57608
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