In this study, the effects of three common cooking practices (i.e., boiling, steaming, and frying) on the artichoke phenolic compounds pattern were evaluated by LC-MS/MS analysis. The variation of carotenoids, antioxidant capacity, and artichoke physical properties after cooking was also investigated. The major phenolic compounds present in the raw sample were 5-O-caffeoylquinic and 1,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acids; after cooking treatments, an increase of the overall caffeoylquinic acids concentration due to the formation of different dicaffeoylquinic acid isomers was observed. Steamed and fried samples showed similar patterns of dicaffeoylquinic concentrations, which were higher with respect to the boiled samples. On the other hand, all cooking practices, particularly frying, decreased flavonoid concentration. The antioxidant capacity of cooked artichokes, measured by three different assays, enormously increased after cooking, particularly after steaming (up to 15-fold) and boiling (up to 8-fold). The observed cooking effect on the artichoke antioxidant profile is probably due to matrix softening and increased extractability of compounds, but the increase of antioxidant capacity is much higher than the increase of antioxidant concentration. These results suggest that some common cooking treatments can be used to enhance the nutritional value of vegetables, increasing bioaccessibility of health-promoting constituents.
- Antioxidant activity