New research helps maximize the health benefits of fruit smoothies.
Smoothies are a delicious and easy way to incorporate essential fruits and vegetables into your diet. But is a banana and blueberry smoothie the perfect combination? New research from the University of California, Davis suggests that blending certain ingredients into smoothies can affect whether your body is fortified with nutrients.
This research was recently published in the journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. food and functionused smoothies to test how different levels of polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme found in many fruits and vegetables, affected the levels of flavanols in food absorbed by the body. . Flavanols are a group of bioactive compounds that are good for heart and cognitive health and are found naturally in common smoothie ingredients: apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and cocoa.
“We are very hands-on about how common foods and food preparations, such as banana-based smoothies, can affect the availability of flavanols to be absorbed after ingestion. I tried to understand it on a sensible level,” said Javier Ottaviani, lead author and director of the Core Research Institute. Mars Edge is part of Mars, Inc. and is an adjunct researcher in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis.
If you slice an apple or peel a banana, the fruit will quickly brown. This is caused by polyphenol oxidase (PPO), an enzyme naturally present in these foods. Browning occurs when food containing the enzyme is exposed to air, cut, or scratched. The researchers wanted to know if consuming freshly made smoothies made with a variety of his PPO-containing fruits affected the amount of flavanols available to the body.
banana vs berry
The researchers asked participants to drink a smoothie made with bananas, which originally had high PPO activity, and a smoothie made with mixed berries, which had a low PPO activity. Participants also took flavanol capsules as a control. Blood and urine samples were analyzed to determine how much flavanols were present in the body after ingesting the smoothie samples and capsules. Researchers found that people who drank the banana smoothie had 84% lower levels of flavanols in their bodies compared to controls.
“We were really surprised to see how quickly the addition of one banana reduced the level of flavanols in the smoothie and the level of flavanols absorbed by the body,” said Ottaviani. “This highlights how food preparation and combination can affect the absorption of food compounds in foods.”
Last year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published dietary recommendations advising people to consume 400-600 milligrams of flavanols daily for cardiometabolic health. Ottaviani suggests that people looking to consume these flavanols should combine flavanol-rich fruits, such as berries, with other ingredients with low PPO activity, such as pineapple, oranges, mangoes, and yogurt to make a smoothie. said it should be considered.
He also said bananas are still the best fruit to eat or put in smoothies. For those who want to consume smoothies with bananas and other high-PPO-active fruits and vegetables, such as beet vegetables, it is recommended not to combine smoothies with flavanol-rich fruits such as berries, grapes, and cocoa.
The findings may spur future research into how other foods are cooked and their impact on flavanols. For example, Professor Ottaviani said that tea is a major dietary source of flavanols, and that depending on how it is prepared, different amounts of flavanols are available. for absorption.
“This is certainly an area that deserves more attention in the area of polyphenols and bioactive compounds in general,” said Ottaviani.
Reference: “Effect of polyphenol oxidase on flavan-3-ol bioavailability in fruit smoothies: a controlled, single-blind, cross-over study” Javier I. Ottaviani, Jodi L. Ensunsa, Reedmond Y. Fong , Jennifer Kimball, Valentina Medici, Günther GC Kuhnle, Alain Crozier, Hagen Schroeterer, Catherine Kwik Uribe, 24 August 2023, food & function.
Jodi Ensunsa, Reedmond Fong, Jennifer Kimball, and Alan Crozier are all from the University of California, Davis Department of Nutrition, as are researchers from the University of California, Davis Department of Internal Medicine, University of Reading, King Saud University, and Mars. Contributed to research. the study.
This study was funded by a research grant from Mars, which collaborates with researchers to study the potential benefits of cocoa flavanols for human health.