The effects of excipient foods and emulsions on carotenoid bioaccessibility.
Recently, increasing attention has been given to carotenoid bioaccessibility and bioavailability in the field of nutrition research. As a consequence of their lipophilic nature and their specific localization in plant-based tissues, carotenoid bioaccessibility and bioavailability is generally quite low in raw fruits and vegetables, since carotenoids need to be released from the cellular matrix and incorporated in the lipid fraction during digestion before being absorbed. However, the poor water-solubility, high melting point, and low oral bioavailability of lipophilic bioactive agents like carotenoids make them difficult to incorporate into many aqueous-based food products and may reduce their bioaccessibility within the gastrointestinal tract. Today’s approach related to improve bioaccessibility is to design of food matrix. Recently, the newest approach, excipient food, has been introduced to improve the bioavailability of orally administered bioactive compounds. The main idea is combining food and another food (the excipient food) whose composition and/or structure is specifically designed to improve health benefits. This article reviews studies related to the impact of food matrix and structure on the bioaccessibility of carotenoids, and excipient foods and emulsions designed in the light of this knowledge.