Washington, Nov 10 (ANI): Ice cream researchers at University of Missouri are working towards making the chilling desserts into functional foods.
They have already discovered ways to make ice cream tastier and healthier and have contributed to ice cream development and manufacturing for more than a century.
"The idea of putting a functional ingredient into a food instead of just using the nutrients found in the food naturally takes a multi-functional approach. Food provides calories and comfort - people want to indulge. We're working on making ice cream satisfying and healthy," said Dr. Ingolf Gruen. dding nutrients such as pro-biotics, which are already found in some dairy products, and fibre to ice cream could improve digestive health.
Gruen said that many diseases are caused by inflammation that starts in the intestines, and improving digestive health with functional foods might reduce that inflammation.
Although functional foods have health benefits, there are many challenges to adding nutrients to ice cream.
"Our major challenges are texture, flavour and psychological acceptance. The nutrients we add often have bitter tastes and affect the texture of ice cream that we have to mask. Flavors like chocolate are easier to work with because the flavor is so strong that it can overcome other flavors from the nutrients. Another challenge is determining whether people would be upset that we're 'tampering' with a comfort food. We need to know if they would be more willing to pay for ice cream with added nutritional benefits," said Gruen.
The researchers are looking at using the acai berry and remnants from grapes in winemaking to add nutrients to ice cream.
They hope to have a prototype ready for tasting in the next six months. (ANI)