In search of the healthiest muffin

In search of the healthiest muffin

Norwegian researchers entered the laboratory, labored over their instruments and eventually emerged with the latest scientific breakthrough.

A muffin.

Not just any muffin. This might be the healthiest muffin on the planet. And investigators even named it, as if it were a puppy hanging out near the centrifuge.

We introduce you to Roselle (Rose-ELL).

Roselle also happens to be the name of a flowering plant traditionally used for its medicinal qualities. It produces a tart and pleasantly acidic taste.

In science-speak, the study, published in the journal Foods, notes the muffin was developed using formulations in varying proportions resulting from Response Surface Methodology. That’s a highfallutin way of saying scientists created a recipe.

Using a Roselle extract called calyx (KAY-licks), their muffin is high in vitamins and antioxidants. A calyx is the outermost whorl in a flower. They left out the unhealthy preservatives often found in store-bought baked goods.

This Roselle extract contains polyphenols, flavonoids, betaine (BEET-a-een) and hibiscus acid, ingredients known to reduce the risk of chronic disease. The muffin boasts a six-day shelf life at room temperature. Scientists bragged that these treats won’t last that long in the average household because they are so delicious.

The final product had little sugar, salt or saturated fat. Taste tests with a group of 30 people were positive. Healthy, in this case, doesn’t mean tasteless.

Perhaps it makes sense that food scientists would concoct a great recipe in the lab. Cooking, to some extent, is basic chemistry.

Of course, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make a muffin.

Just ask your favorite baker.

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