Cocoa as a delicious vitamin D source?

Cocoa butter and dark chocolate contain significant amounts of the "sun vitamin"

Unimagined Nutrient Source: Dark chocolate contains a relatively high amount of vitamin D. © Eva-Katalin / istock
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Good news for chocolate: Not only fish and eggs, cocoa-containing foods also contain vitamin D. Especially cocoa butter and dark chocolate have a relatively high content of this important for our body nutrient, as researchers have found. However: Excessive feasting to replenish the vitamin memory is still not a good idea.

Vitamin D is of central importance to the human body: it plays an important role in bone formation, but it is also supposed to strengthen the brain and even protect it from cancer. If a person suffers from vitamin D deficiency, this can, inter alia, promote osteoporosis and increase the risk of dementia.

To stay healthy, we must therefore regularly expose ourselves to the sun. Because 90 percent of the required vitamin forms the body with the help of daylight itself. The remaining ten percent is ideally covered by our diet - however, the so-called sun vitamin is limited in food. The highest content of fatty fish such as salmon, eggs and some mushrooms also contains vitamin D.

The darker, the more vitamin-rich

Gabriele Stangl from the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg and her colleagues have uncovered another, previously unknown vitamin D source: cocoa. Cocoa beans are usually dried in the sun for one to two weeks after fermentation. The researchers hypothesized that precursors of the vitamin contained in this process could be converted into vitamin D2. To test this, they analyzed different cocoa products using mass spectrometry.

The results confirmed that cocoa-containing products are indeed a source of vitamin D2 - but the levels vary greatly from food to food. For example, scientists in cocoa butter and dark chocolate detected relatively high levels of nutrients. In white chocolate, on the other hand, they found little of it. "That's not surprising, because the cocoa content in white chocolate is much lower. This confirms our belief that cocoa is the source of vitamin D2, "says Stangl. display

No release for feasting

The bad news for all chocolate lovers: To fill up the vitamin memory with chocolate is still not a good idea, according to the nutritionist. "You would have to eat tons of chocolate to meet the need for vitamin D2. That would be extremely unhealthy due to the high sugar and fat content. "

Rather, the new finding is important in order to obtain correct data on the average nutrient supply of the population. Because according to the researchers, the food consumption is determined - missing a source of vitamin D, the numbers did not agree in the end.

"Not optimally supplied"

So far, such surveys show again and again that although only a few Germans suffer from a true vitamin D deficiency. "Many people are also not optimally supplied with vitamin D. This problem increases again in the sunless months in winter, "says Stangl. She and her colleagues want to investigate in future studies, if sugar-free, cocoa-based foods such as pasta produce - and if they can contribute to an improved vitamin D2 levels in humans can afford. (Food Chemistry, 2018; doi: 10.1016 / j.foodchem.2018.06.098)

(Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 26.09.2018 - DAL)