Healthy spaghetti

October 7, 2011

The Column

The Column, The Column-10-07-2011, Volume 7, Issue 18

The health benefits of barley grain as a source of dietary fibre are well known. In the case of barley, as with most cereals, the phenolic compounds are concentrated in the bran, which until recently was removed during the milling process. Now food researchers are investigating the possibility of producing barley flours naturally enriched in bioactive compounds and have shown that the separation of different fractions of whole barley by pearling have resulted in the outermost fractions yielding the highest phenolic content.

The health benefits of barley grain as a source of dietary fibre are well known. In the case of barley, as with most cereals, the phenolic compounds are concentrated in the bran, which until recently was removed during the milling process. Now food researchers are investigating the possibility of producing barley flours naturally enriched in bioactive compounds and have shown that the separation of different fractions of whole barley by pearling have resulted in the outermost fractions yielding the highest phenolic content. These fractions are suitable for use in many different kinds of food including bread and pasta.

In this research, barley byproducts were obtained by air classification to produce a different barley functional spaghetti, which was compared with a variety of commercial whole semolina samples.1 Capillary electrophoresis was used to determine the phenolic compounds. The barley spaghetti showed the highest content of dietary fibre. Commercial samples reported a content of ß-glucans lower than 0.6% dm, while barley spaghetti showed a content of 5.2, 4.9 and 10.2% dm in the three samples investigated. These contents meet the FDA requirements of 0.75 g of ß-glucans per serving, which would allow the spaghetti to merit the health claim of a good source of dietary fibre that may reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Vito Verardo et al., Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(17), 9127–9134 (2011).

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.

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