The levels of bioactive compounds in broccoli and their bioavailability following broccoli intake can be affected by the cooking procedures used for vegetable preparation. In the present pilot study, we compared the human plasma bioavailability of antioxidant compounds (β-carotene, lutein and isothiocyanate) and of phylloquinone (vitamin K) on seven volunteers before and after the administration of boiled and steamed broccoli. Moreover, plasma isothiocyanate (ITCs) levels were also evaluated after the administration of a single dose of BroccoMax®, a dietary supplement containing GLSs with active myrosinase. Steam-cooking has been demonstrated to promote higher plasma bioavailability in ITCs than boiling (AUCSTEAMED = 417.4; AUCBOILED = 175.3) and is comparable to that reached following the intake of BroccoMax®, a supplement containing glucoraphanin and active myrosinase (AUC = 450.1). However, the impact of boiling and steaming treatment on plasma bioavailability of lipophilic antioxidants (lutein and β-carotene) and of phylloquinone was comparable. The lutein and β-carotene plasma levels did not change after administration of steamed or boiled broccoli. Conversely, both treatments led to a similar increase of phylloquinone plasma levels. Considering the antioxidant action and the potential chemopreventive activity of ITCs, steaming treatments can be considered the most suitable cooking method to promote the health benefits of broccoli in the diet.
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