Researchers go nuts over plant milk
January 8, 2014
The vegetable milk market could be about to get more varied with the findings of a new study carried out in Spain. Using probiotic bacteria obtained from grains and nuts, researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València have come up with a range of fermented products. They hope their findings will increase the choice and the quality of plant milks for people with allergies, lactose intolerance, pregnant women and, of course, vegans.
The raw materials the researchers worked with include almonds, oats and hazelnuts, and they also intend to experiment with walnuts and chestnuts. The tests carried out in vitro revealed that these milks can help fight intestinal inflammation. The researchers also found ways to improve the stability of plant milks already available in the market.
"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," researcher Chelo González said in a press statement.
The health claims associated with plant milks are quite impressive. Besides offering an alternative to those people who cannot consume animal milk for health or ethical reasons, they help increase the absorption of iron, which the caseins and other allergens found in cow’s milk inhibit. They are also a good source of vitamins B and E, antioxidants and fiber.
Diabetic people can also benefit from them due to the low sugar content of their fatty acids and carbohydrates. Nut-based milks can supply pregnant women with a high amount of folic acid, and help keep a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorous.
The study also included researchers from the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA -CSIC) and the University College of Dublin (Ireland).