First there were blueberries. Now, scientists in Singapore have found a way to turn white bread into a superfood.
The purple bread is a new type of bread that is easier to digest than its white counterpart, the Star2 reported. Zhou Weibiao, professor and director of the Food Science and Technology Programme at the National University of Singapore, and his team worked for a year on their bread project.
White bread, essentially made from refined flour, is a popular staple food for many people around the world yet it is also infamous for having a high glycemic index—thanks to its carb content—as well as low levels of fiber minerals. Experts said excessive consumption of bread could increase the risk of overweight and obesity, and their associated diseases such as Type II diabetes.
So Zhou and his team tried to create a new bread option that could be digested at a slower rate, essentially a healthier bread that could help improve blood glucose control and high in antioxidants, among other health benefits.
Zhou’s team came up with a bread injected with a natural plant pigment, called anthocyanin, which is extracted from black rice.
According to the NUS website, anthocyanins belong to the group of flavonoids that are naturally occurring pigments in fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for the orange, red, violet and blue colors that can be found in nature. Blueberries, popularly known as a “superfruit,” as well as grapes, blackberries, black rice and purple sweet potatoes are naturally rich in anthocyanins.
“The challenge was to see if we could change the formula of bread, without changing the smooth texture of white bread that people really love,” Zhou said, according to CNN.
After adding anthocyanins to the bread, the scientists discovered that a resulting chemical reaction with the starch enzymes slows the digestion rate by 20 percent. In addition, about 80 percent of the antioxidant qualities are preserved in the bread crust and crumbs when the purple bread is baked at 200 degrees Celsius.
“Despite their antioxidant capacity and associated health benefits, the knowledge of using anthocyanins as an ingredient in food products, particularly semi-solid products, is very limited. Hence, we wanted to explore the feasibility of fortifying anthocyanins into bread, to understand how it affects digestibility and its impact on the various quality attributes of bread,” Zhou said in a statement.
Currently, approaches for developing health-promoting bread are dominated by adding whole grains and fibers in bread, partly aiming to slow down its digestion among several health benefits. Dr Sui Xiaonan, a recent PhD graduate from the Food Science and Technology Programme at NUS and first author of the study said, “Reducing the digestion rate of the bread will lead to a lower glycemic index and slower absorption of the bread’s carbohydrates. This usually suggests a lower insulin demand, and could potentially improve long-term blood glucose control. Our study explores an alternative way of producing functional bread that delivers health benefits to consumers.”
Oh, and the color isn’t bad, either.MIMS
NUS develops purple bread to stabilize blood sugar
05 Apr 2016