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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jun 2;52(11):3412-6.

Chemical composition and glycemic index of Brazilian pine (Araucaria angustifolia) seeds.

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  • 1Departamento de Alimentos e Nutrição Experimental, FCF, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 580, Bl.14, CEP 05508-900, São Paulo-SP, Brazil.


The seeds of Parana pine (Araucaria brasiliensis syn. Araucaria angustifolia), named pinhão, are consumed after cooking and posterior dehulling, or they are used to prepare a flour employed in regional dishes. Native people that live in the South of Brazil usually consume baked pinhão. As a result of cooking, the white seeds become brown on the surface due to the migration of some tinted compounds present in the seed coat. In this work, the proximate composition, minerals, flavonoids, and glycemic index (GI) of cooked and raw pinhão seeds were compared. No differences in moisture, lipids, soluble fiber, and total starch after boiling were found. However, the soluble sugars and P, Cu, and Mg contents decreased, probably as a consequence of leaching in the cooking water. Also, the boiling process modified the profile of the phenolic compounds in the seeds. No flavonols were detected in raw pinhão seeds. The internal seed coat had a quercetin content five times higher than that of the external seed coat; also, quercetin migrated into the seed during cooking. The internal seed coat had a high content of total phenolics, and seeds cooked in normal conditions (with the seed coat) showed a total phenolics content five times higher than that of seeds cooked without the seed coat. Cooking was then extremely favorable to pinhão seeds bioactive compounds content. The carbohydrate availability was evaluated in a short-term assay in humans by the GI. The GI of pinhão seeds cooked with the coat (67%) was similar to that of the seeds cooked without a coat (62%) and lower than bread, showing that cooking does not interfere with starch availability. The low glycemic response can be partly due to its high content of resistant starch (9% of the total starch).

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