Antioxidants are abundant compounds primarily found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases is continuously emerging. However, the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of each compound differs greatly, and the most abundant antioxidants in ingested fruit are not necessarily those leading to the highest concentrations of active metabolites in target tissues. Fruit antioxidants are commonly mixed with different macromolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins to form a food matrix. In fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates are the major compounds found, mainly in free and conjugated forms. Dietary fiber, the indigestible cell wall component of plant material, is considered to play an important role in human diet and health. Most studies on antioxidant bioavailability are focused on foods and beverages from which antioxidants are easily released. There is evidence indicating that food microstructure affects the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of several nutrients, referring mostly to antioxidants. Nevertheless, the specific role of dietary fiber in the absorption of antioxidants has not been widely discussed. In this context, the purpose of the present review is to compile and analyze evidence relating to the association between dietary fiber and antioxidants, and the physical and chemical interactions that modulate their release from the chyme in the gastrointestinal tract.
Natural bioactive compounds include a broad diversity of structures and functionalities that provide an excellent pool of molecules for the production of nutraceuticals, functional foods, and food additives. Some of those compounds can be found in nature at high concentration such as polyphenols but others can only be found at very low levels, so that massive harvesting is needed to obtain sufficient amounts, and their structural diversity and complexity make chemical synthesis unprofitable. The inherent difficulties in screening and producing these compounds have led to the development of advanced technologies. The commonly used methods for their extraction are the conventional liquidliquid or solid-liquid extraction and the advanced include pressurized-liquid extraction, subcritical and supercritical extractions, and microwave-and ultrasound-assisted extractions. In addition, these extraction techniques have been improved with previous steps (enzyme-and instant controlled pressure drop-assisted extractions) which help to release the compounds from the matrix. These technologies could provide in the next few years an innovative approach to increase the production of specific compounds for use as nutraceuticals or as ingredients in the design of functional foods.
Plant foods are rich in phenolic compounds (PCs) that display multifaceted bioactions in health promotion and disease prevention. To exert their bioactivity, they must be delivered to and absorbed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, transported in circulation, and reach the target tissues. During the journey from ingestion to target tissues and final excretion, PCs are subjected to modifications by many factors during their absorption, deposition, metabolism and excretion (ADME) and consequently their bioefficacy may be modified. Consistent with all nutrients in foods, PCs must first be released from the food matrix through mechanical, chemical, and enzymatic forces to facilitate absorption along the GI tract, particularly in the upper small intestine section. Further, glycosylation of PCs directs the route of their absorption with glycones being transported through active transportation and aglycones through passive diffusion. After enteral absorption, the majority of PCs are extensively transformed by the detoxification system in enterocytes and liver for excretion in bile, feces, and urine. The journey of PCs from consumption to excretion appears to be comparable to many synthetic medications, but with some dissimilarities in their fate and bioactivity after phase I and II metabolism. The overall bioavailability of PCs is determined mainly by chemical characteristics, bioaccessibility, and ADME. In this review, factors accounting for variation in PCs bioavailability are discussed because this information is crucial for validation of the health benefits of PCs and their mechanism of action.
The contents of antioxidant nutritional compounds, total soluble phenolics (TSP), vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and total carotenoids (TC), were correlated with the total antioxidant capacity (AOC) of hydrophilic (HPE) and lipophilic extracts (LPE) from eight horticultural crops, namely, guava, avocado, black sapote, mango, papaya, prickly pear fruit, cladodes, and strawberry. AOC was measured using six different assays: 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylendiamine (DMPD), ferric-ion-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), and total oxidant scavenging capacity (TOSC). AOC values from HPE were about 95 times higher than LPE values. HPE of guava had the highest AOC value when evaluated with DMPD, DPPH, FRAP, TEAC, and TOSC assays, whereas with ORAC assay, black sapote had the highest value. HPE of papaya and prickly pear fruit presented the lowest AOC values with all assays. From HPE, vitamin C and TSP contents were highly correlated with AOC for all assays, while from LPE, TC and beta-carotene contents possessed a high correlation with AOC only in the DMPD assay.
Anthocyanins (ACNs) are plant secondary metabolites from the flavonoid family. Red to blue fruits are major dietary sources of ACNs (up to 1 g/100 g FW), being cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (Cy3G) one of the most widely distributed. Cy3G confers a red hue to fruits, but its content in raspberries and strawberries is low. It has a good radical scavenging capacity (RSC) against superoxide but not hydroxyl radicals, and its oxidative potential is pH-dependent (58 mV/pH unit). After intake, Cy3G can be metabolized (phases I, II) by oral epithelial cells, absorbed by the gastric epithelium (1%-10%) and it is gut-transformed (phase II & microbial metabolism), reaching the bloodstream (<1%) and urine (about 0.02%) in low amounts. In humans and Caco-2 cells, Cy3G's major metabolites are protocatechuic acid and phloroglucinaldehyde which are also subjected to entero-hepatic recycling, although caffeic acid and peonidin-3-glucoside seem to be strictly produced in the large bowel and renal tissues. Solid evidence supports Cy3G's bioactivity as DNA-RSC, gastro protective, anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic chemo-preventive and as an epigenetic factor, exerting protection against Helicobacter pylori infection, age-related diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and oral cancer. Most relevant mechanisms include RSC, epigenetic action, competitive protein-binding and enzyme inhibition. These and other novel aspects on Cy3G's physical-chemistry, foodomics, and health effects are discussed.
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