If you or someone you know has an allergy to lactose, it can be difficult to find probiotic supplements you can take. But help may be on the way. New plant-based alternatives to yogurts for probiotics are being developed by researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València.
The researchers have made products fermented with probiotic bacteria from grains and nuts. They are based on what is known as plant-based or vegetable milks, an alternative to conventional yogurts. The products are specifically designed for people with allergies to cow’s milk, lactose or gluten intolerance, as well as children and pregnant women.
“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 València. researcher Chelo González.
The research team has worked with almonds, oats and hazelnuts and will soon investigate the use of walnuts and chestnuts as raw material for these new products. Also taking part in the study are the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA -CSIC) and the University College of Dublin, Ireland.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
In vitro studies show some of the products developed have anti-inflammatory properties in intestine cells. This could alleviate allergic reactions caused by food, and increase the bioavailability of iron. The caseins of cow’s milk as well as being on the list of allergens components thwarts absorption of iron.
The research also offers new clues for improvement of commercial plant-based milks already on the market, which have deficiencies related to low physical stability during storage.
Milk made from nuts and grains are an alternative to animal milks and soy milk. They also have components of high nutritional value that can give various health benefits for both people with specific needs, such as lactose intolerance, allergic to cow’s milk, vegetarian, as for the general population.
A profile of healthy fatty acids and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index characterizes these so called plant milks. Additionally, they are an important source of vitamins B and E, antioxidant compounds phytosterols and/or polyphenols and dietary fibre.
They are also very low in sodium and rich in potassium, helping to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes.
The nut milks in particular are recommended for pregnant women because of their richness in folic acid and favorable calcium to phosphorus ratio.
“This last property, together with the absence of lactose, milk protein and gluten, are what make these drinks good substitutes for cow’s milk,” adds Chelo González.
photo: Vivianna_love, Creative Commons License