Researchers Find that Adding a Banana to Fruit Smoothies Decreases Flavanol Absorption in the Body

A study, published in August  2023 in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Food and Function, evaluated how levels of polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme in many fruits and vegetables, affects absorption levels of flavanols in the body. Flavanols, naturally found in apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, and cocoa, are a group of bioactive compounds known to have beneficial heart and cognitive health effects. The researchers had study participants drink smoothies made with bananas and smoothies made with mixed berries; participants also took flavanol capsules as controls. Flavanol levels were then assessed via blood and urine samples. The levels of flavanols in the participants who drank the banana smoothies were 84-percent lower than those in the controls. The researchers recommend that people who are trying to consume more flavanols via smoothies should consider combining flavanol-rich fruits, such as berries, with other ingredients that also have a low PPO activity, such as pineapple, oranges, mango or yogurt. Bananas, which offer a number of nutrients that are full of antioxidants,  make great smoothie additions. But if you’re looking to boost your flavanol consumption through smoothies, combining fruits and vegetables with low polyphenol oxidase levels can improve absorption in the body. 

Source: University of California – Davis. “The right combo: Getting the most health benefits from fruit smoothies.” 24 August 2023. ScienceDaily website. Accessed 29 Sep 2023.    

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