How Cooking Affects Iodine, Nutrients, and Antioxidants in Kale

Greg Howard
28th June, 2024

How Cooking Affects Iodine, Nutrients, and Antioxidants in Kale

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by the University of Agriculture in Krakow examined how different cooking methods affect the nutrient content in iodine-biofortified kale
  • Thermal processes like steaming, blanching, and boiling generally reduced the nutrient and bioactive compound content in kale
  • The red cultivar of kale retained more iodine during cooking, especially when biofortified with 8-hydroxy-7-iodo-5-quinolinesulfonic acid
Iodine deficiency is a global health concern, leading to various diseases and disabilities. A recent study conducted by the University of Agriculture in Krakow[1] explored the potential of kale, a nutrient-rich vegetable, to address this issue. The study specifically examined how different thermal treatments—steaming, blanching, and boiling—affect the nutrient and bioactive compound content in two cultivars of kale (green and red), both non-biofortified and biofortified with iodine. Kale is known for its health-promoting properties due to its high content of nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as ascorbic acid, carotenoids, glucosinolates, and phenolic compounds. These compounds are essential for human health, offering antioxidant properties and other benefits[2]. However, the nutrient content in kale can be significantly affected by thermal treatments, which can either break down these compounds or enhance their extractability by softening the vegetable matrix. The study investigated the changes in basic composition, iodine, vitamin C, total carotenoids, polyphenols, and antioxidant activity in kale subjected to different thermal processes. The researchers used two iodoquinolines (8-hydroxy-7-iodo-5-quinolinesulfonic acid and 5-chloro-7-iodo-8-quinoline) and potassium iodate (KIO3) to biofortify the kale through hydroponic nutrient solutions. The findings revealed that thermal processes generally reduced the content of nutrients and bioactive compounds in kale, regardless of the cultivar and enrichment method. However, the red cultivar of kale showed a greater ability to accumulate iodine and reduce iodine losses during cooking processes. Among the biofortification agents, 8-hydroxy-7-iodo-5-quinolinesulfonic acid demonstrated a protective effect, preserving higher iodine content compared to the other enrichments. This study is significant as it highlights the potential of biofortified kale to address iodine deficiency, a persistent issue even in developed regions[3]. The protective effect of certain biofortification agents against nutrient loss during cooking is particularly noteworthy, as it suggests practical ways to enhance the nutritional value of kale and other Brassica vegetables. The research aligns with earlier findings that emphasize the importance of bioactive compounds in plant-based diets for human health[2]. Plant-based diets, including vegan diets, are gaining popularity for their health benefits and lower environmental impact[4]. However, such diets can sometimes lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients like iodine, highlighting the need for biofortified foods and supplements to ensure balanced nutrition. Moreover, the study supports the call for a broader perspective on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), emphasizing the role of structural determinants such as food availability and quality[5]. By improving the nutrient content of commonly consumed vegetables like kale, we can address some of the underlying factors contributing to NCDs, particularly in low-income populations where access to diverse and nutrient-rich foods is limited. In conclusion, the study conducted by the University of Agriculture in Krakow provides valuable insights into the potential of iodine-biofortified kale to combat iodine deficiency. The findings underscore the importance of selecting appropriate biofortification agents and cooking methods to preserve the nutritional benefits of kale. This research contributes to a growing body of evidence supporting the role of bioactive compounds in promoting human health and offers practical solutions for enhancing the nutritional quality of plant-based diets.



Main Study

1) Iodine enriched kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica L.)-The influence of heat treatments on its iodine content, basic composition and antioxidative properties.

Published 27th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Bioactive compounds for human and planetary health.

3) Iodine Deficiency and Iodine Prophylaxis: An Overview and Update.

4) Vegan Diet Health Benefits in Metabolic Syndrome.

5) Risk, lifestyle and non-communicable diseases of poverty.

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