Plant-based 'Milks' Offer an Alternative to Yogurt

Researchers in Spain are developing new products using probiotic bacteria from grains and nuts, known as plant-based or vegetable "milks."


Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València have obtained new products fermented with probiotic bacteria from grains and nuts - what is known as plant-based or vegetable "milks" - which are an alternative to conventional yogurts. The new products are specially designed for people with allergies to cow's milk, lactose or gluten intolerance, as well as children and pregnant women.

The reserachers have conducted in vitro studies to show how some of the products developed have anti-inflammatory properties in intestine cells, which could alleviate allergic reactions caused by food, and increase the bioavailability of iron. The caseins of cow's milk hinder 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.

The "milk" made from nuts and grains represent an alternative to animal milks and soy milk. They also have components of great nutritional value that can provide numerous health benefits for both consumer groups with specific problems (lactose intolerance, allergic to cow's milk, vegetarian...) 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 fiber, which helps to improve intestinal health.

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