Fava bean sprouts have a high antioxidant activity because of their high contents of l-DOPA and various kaempferol glycosides, which means they could be useful in the diet as an attractive and palatable source of antioxidants to help maintain human health, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science.
Pulses, including all kinds of dried beans and peas, are an inexpensive and highly nutritious source of protein and vital micronutrients that can greatly benefit people’s health and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries. For this reason, the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses.
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are an edible plant belonging to the Fabaceae family and are cultivated in the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. Sprouts, the new buds that can be grown from any plant or vegetable seed, have long been eaten as a health food in Japan.
Total polyphenol content of fava bean sprouts is high and it is also a good source of l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA), but there has been no detailed evaluation of these constituents in fava bean sprouts. Researchers at the University of Shizuoka treated air-dried fava bean sprouts with 8-percent methanol and the extract was partitioned in water with chloroform and ethyl acetate. They evaluated the antioxidant activities of l-DOPA using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging assay. l-DOPA showed high antioxidant activity, but the isolated kaempferol glycosides showed weak activity. Therefore, the researchers hypothesized that l-DOPA contributed to the antioxidant activity of fava bean sprouts.