Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease are more prevalent than ever due to hectic and unhealthy lifestyles. Consequently, the demand for healthy, disease-preventing superfoods is on the rise among health-conscious consumers. This shift towards healthier behavior and the focus on the prevention of diseases has contributed to the emergence of new dietary trends.
Natural plant food sources that are rich in antioxidants can help to protect the body from disease as well as heighten physical and mental efficiency. As a result, scientists are now developing functional foods such as snacks, breakfast cereals and porridges that have health benefits beyond normal nutrition.
Native to North America, Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, are one of the most potent berries in terms of their antioxidant content. In addition to their high concentration of antioxidants, chokeberries are full of vitamins and flavonoids and are thought to have anti-aging properties - factors which only increase their popularity.
However, the antioxidant capacity of fruit can be significantly diminished by heat or oxidation during processing. Now, scientists from Poland have discovered that the Aronia berry is resistant to heat during the production process of cornmeal porridge.
Their research is presented in the article "Influence of Production Parameters on the Content of Polyphenolic Compounds in Extruded Porridges Enriched with Chokeberry Fruit (Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Elliott)" published in De Gruyter's journal Open Chemistry by author Anna Oniszczuk and her team of scientists from the Medical University of Lublin in Poland. The authors studied the production of cornmeal porridge with varying amounts of the Aronia berries. Their research also determined that the antioxidant and flavonoid content of the porridge samples did not degrade during the production process, despite the high temperatures used.
"Due to the high levels of antioxidants in the Aronia berry and its resistance to high temperatures during processing, the research highlights how important the Aronia berry could be for the production of functional foods such as porridge," says study author Anna Oniszczuk.
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