Slice of the future
Pizzas may be healthier in the future
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Tuesday, 27, Mar 2007 12:01
Scientists have discovered that it is possible to produce 'healthier' pizza dough by experimenting with cooking and fermentation methods.
Researchers at the University of Maryland found that baking pizza dough at higher temperatures, for longer periods, enhanced levels of antioxidants that medics believe lower a person's risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
The study, part of an ongoing project to enhance natural antioxidants present in grain-based food ingredients through the development of new technologies, found that longer baking times increased antioxidant levels by up to 60 per cent.
Cooking whole grain pizza dough, made from two varieties of wheat, at higher baking temperatures also increased antioxidant levels by more than 80 per cent depending on the type of flour used by researchers and how levels were tested.
According to the research, which was made public today at the latest meeting of the American Chemical Society, allowing pizza dough to ferment for longer doubled antioxidant concentrations.
Jeffrey Moore, who co-authored the study, said that the increase was likely to result from giving yeasts more time to release antioxidant properties bound in the pizza dough.
Scientists believe that the findings could be used to help make popular food healthier.
"We chose to investigate pizza dough because it's one of the most popular wheat-based food products in the US," the academic explained.
"Making popular food more healthy using the tools of chemistry may have a larger impact on public health."