British Journal of Nutrition

Review Article

Cocoa and health: a decade of research

Karen A. Coopera1, Jennifer L. Donovana2, Andrew L. Waterhousea3 and Gary Williamsona1 c1

a1 Nestlé Research Center, Vers-Chez-les-Blanc, PO Box 44, CH-1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland

a2 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

a3 Department of Viticulture & Enology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA


It has been over 10 years since the first mention in a medical journal about cocoa and chocolate as potential sources of antioxidants for health. During this time, cocoa has been found to improve antioxidant status, reduce inflammation and correlate with reduced heart disease risk; with these results, and its popularity, it has received wide coverage in the press. However, after 10 years of research, what is known about the potential health benefits of cocoa and what are the important next steps in understanding this decadent source of antioxidants?

(Received December 05 2006)

(Revised May 29 2007)

(Accepted May 31 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Gary Williamson, fax +41 21 785 8544, email


Abbreviations: FMD, flow-mediated dilation; NO, nitirc oxide