Topical Area: Dietary Bioactive Components
Identify and measure beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and total carotenoids within traditional Southern New Mexican meals.
Three traditional New Mexican meals, red chile enchiladas, squash calabacitas, and red chile posole were chosen based on their inclusion of carotenoid containing vegetables. Seven community health educators, promotoras, were recruited from the La Semilla Food Center (Anthony, NM, USA) to prepare each meal, as commonly consumed with traditional Mexican practices and ingredients, on two separate cooking days. The red chile enchilada meal included Spanish rice, pinto beans and a side salad with tomatoes and orange bell peppers. Calabacitas were served with panela cheese and a corn tortilla and the posole, a red chile pork stew with hominy, was topped with cabbage and avocado. Once prepared, one plate (approximately 240 g) of each meal was blended and frozen in liquid nitrogen for carotenoid analysis. Carotenoid extractions were performed with 10 g samples in duplicate for each meal and analyzed against beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin standards via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Carotenoid content for the entire portion of each meal was calculated and remaining samples of the meals were saved for future in vitro digestions to determine carotenoid micellar efficiencies.
Beta-carotene and zeaxanthin were found in all three meals from both cooking days, whereas lutein was predominately found in calabacitas. The enchilada plate prepared on the second cooking day contained the highest total carotenoid amount with approximately 6.11 ug/g (1.47 mg/plate) and the highest beta-carotene and zeaxanthin amounts with 1.68 ug/g (403.2 ug/plate) and 0.55 ug/g (132 ug/plate), respectively. Lutein content in calabacitas was approximately 0.47 ug/g or 112.8 ug/plate.
Carotenoid content within each complex food matrix varied between cooking days indicating that minor differences in preparation practices and ingredients impact nutrient content. Future work including in vitro digestions of the meals will provide a basis for determining bioavailability of health-promoting carotenoids from traditional Southern New Mexican meals.
Funding Sources :
New Mexico State University Vice President for Research Grant