Nutrition. 2017 Jan;33:225-233. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2016.07.008.

Natural antioxidant ice cream acutely reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular function and physical performance in healthy individuals.

Sanguigni V1, Manco M2, Sorge R3, Gnessi L4, Francomano D4.
1 Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:
2 Research Unit for Multi-Factorial Diseases, Obesity and Diabetes, Scientific Directorate, Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, Rome, Italy.
3 Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.
4 Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Medical Pathophysiology, Food Science and Endocrinology, “Sapienza” University of Rome, Rome, Italy.



The formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to the pathogenesis and progression of several diseases. Polyphenols have been shown to be beneficial against ROS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a natural antioxidant ice cream on oxidative stress, vascular function, and physical performance.


In this controlled, single-blind, crossover study, 14 healthy individuals were randomized to consume 100 g of either antioxidant ice cream containing dark cocoa powder and hazelnut and green tea extracts or milk chocolate ice cream (control ice cream). Participants were studied at baseline and 2 h after ingesting ice cream. Serum polyphenols, antioxidant status (ferric-reducing ability of plasma [FRAP]), nitric oxide (NOx) bioavailability, markers of oxidative stress (determination of reactive oxygen metabolites [d-ROMs] and hydrogen peroxide [H2O2]), endothelium function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD] and reactive hyperemia index [RHI]), and exercise tolerance (stress test) were assessed, and the double product was measured.


Serum polyphenols (P < 0.001), NOx (P < 0.001), FRAP (P < 0.005), FMD (P < 0.001), and RHI (P < 0.05) increased significantly, oxidative stress decreased (d-Roms, P < 0.001), and the double product (P < 0.001) was improved only after antioxidant ice cream ingestion. No changes were found after control ice cream ingestion.


To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that a natural ice cream rich in polyphenols acutely improved vascular function and physical performance in healthy individuals through a reduction in oxidative stress.


Ageing; Cardiovascular prevention; Double product; Endothelial function; Nitric oxide; Oxygen free radicals

PMID: 27658659; DOI:10.1016/j.nut.2016.07.008