A collaberation between the University of Politècnica de València and the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA -CSIC) and the University College of Dublin (Ireland) has produced a yogurt fermented with probiotic bacteria from grains and nuts as an alternative to convential yogurts. The products are specially geared to people with a demonstrated adverse reaction to cow’s milk, lactose or gluten intolerance, as well as children and pregnant women.
The yogurt is based on plant milk derived from nuts and grains which represents an alternative to animal milks and soy milk. They also contain components of great nutritional value that can provide numerous health benefits for both consumer groups with specific problems as for the general population.
These plant “milks” are characterized by a profile of healthy fatty acids and carbohydrates with low glycaemic index (suitable for diabetics). Moreover, they constitute an important source of vitamins B and E, antioxidant compounds (phytosterols and/or polyphenols) and dietary fibre, which helps to improve intestinal health.
They are also rich in potassium and very low in sodium, so these drinks help maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes.
The “milks” derived from nuts are especially recommended for pregnant women because of its richness in folic acid and its good calcium/phosphorus ratio.
The research team has currently focused on almonds, oats and hazelnuts and will evaluate the use of walnuts and chestnuts as raw material for these new products. The studies show some of these products display anti-inflammatory properties in intestine cells, which could alleviate allergic reactions caused by food, and increase the bioavailability of iron. Casein as well as being an allergen hinders the absorption of iron.
“The results we have obtained also show that the ‘milks’ studied are a good matrix for the growth and viability of probiotic bacteria for the lifetime of the product, especially after their intake,” says Chelo González, a researcher at the Universitat Politècnica de València.
“Overall, the project results contribute to increase knowledge about the nutritional and health properties of vegetable milks, in view of future industrial applications to develop innovative quality products suitable both for the general public and for specific groups,” says Chelo González.
Asociación RUVID (2014, January 3). Alternative to yogurt.