Impact of cooking process on nutritional composition and antioxidants of cactus cladodes (Opuntia ficus-indica)
The impact of cooking methods (boiling, microwaving, griddling and frying in olive and soybean oils) on nutritional composition (protein, minerals, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, fatty acid profile and energy), antioxidant capacity and (poly)phenolic compounds of cactus cladodes (Opuntia ficus-indica) was evaluated. Culinary processes, except boiling, increased soluble and insoluble fibre up to 5.0 g/100 g becoming a good fibre source. Cactus cladodes fried in olive oil showed a healthier fatty acid profile and lower ¿-6/¿-3 ratio than in soybean oil. Flavonoids accounted for 80% of total (poly)phenolic compounds, being isorhamnetin the most abundant. Heat treatment, particularly griddling and microwaving, increased every flavonoid and phenolic acid up to 3.2-fold higher than in raw samples, and consequently their antioxidant capacity. Even boiling induced losses in total (poly)phenols and antioxidant capacity by leaching into water, the main compounds were maintained. Principal Component Analysis distributed heat treated cactus cladodes according to their distinctive polyphenols and antioxidant capacity.