Functional foods from cauliflower waste could help tackle hypertension and diabetes: China study

By Millette Burgos

- Last updated on GMT

Caulifloer by-products could be used to develop functional products against hypertension. © iStock
Caulifloer by-products could be used to develop functional products against hypertension. © iStock

Related tags: Nutrition

By-products from cauliflower could be recycled and turned into functional foods to help combat diabetes and hypertension, a new study from China suggests.

With cauliflower consumption and cultivation continuing to increase, researchers at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, studied the potential of cauliflower by-products (CBP), which are also generated by the tons, but thrown away.

While cauliflower is known to contain various nutrients like vitamin C, glucosinolates, carotenoid, and leaf protein, only the curd is edible and its stems and leaves are disposed off – usually by stockpiling or in landfills. This practice often leads to environmental pollution due to the CBP’s abundant organic matter and moisture content.

But a study by the university’s department of Food Science and Nutrition, and the Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Agro-Food Processing, revealed that soluble leaf protein (SLP) extracted from CBP can be recycled for designing future functional foods.

For example, by using an ultrasonic-assisted extraction technology, researchers were able to obtain 12.066g of SLP from 1000g of fresh CBP. This SLP extract was then hydrolysed – resulting in SLP hydrolysate (SLPH) that possesses various biological activities.

“Overall, our investigation demonstrated that SLP extracted from CBP may be a high quality source for preparing ACE 9 ​(angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitory peptides, which may give implication for developing functional products against hypertension,”​ wrote the researchers in the journal Food Chemistry.

ACE​ inhibitory peptides​ have previously been highlighted as potential antihypertensive components in functional foods or nutraceuticals.

Diabetes support

In the present study, SLPH also promoted the glucose consumption and enhanced the glycogen content in HepG2 cells indicating that SLPH may have the ability to regulate glucose metabolism, therefore suggesting that CBP may be recycled and reused for producing valuable marketable products against diabetes as well.

The researchers noted: “Leaf protein has been considered as a supplementary protein source since the 1960s. These proteins, like peptides or amino acids, can be used in feed production and food processing.

“Our previous study found that cauliflower by-products were rich in leaf protein. More importantly, accumulating evidence regarding the beneficial effects of food-derived protein have unveiled that food-derived protein or peptides possess important biological activities such as anti-oxidation, anti-hypertension, and regulation of glucose metabolism.”

Source: Food Chemistry

DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.053

A recyclable protein resource derived from cauliflower by-products: Potential biological activities of protein hydrolysates”

Authors: Yang Xu, et al.

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