The alternative to yogurt

January 5, 2014
Credit: Asociacion RUVID

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 products are specially designed for people with allergies to cow's milk, lactose or gluten intolerance, as well as children and pregnant women.

From the laboratories at the Institute of Food Engineering for Development, the team has worked with almonds, oats and hazelnuts and soon will evaluate the use of walnuts and chestnuts as raw material for these new products. The Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA -CSIC) and the University College of Dublin (Ireland) have also taken part in the study.

The in vitro studies conducted 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 as well as being on the list of allergens components 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 for the lifetime of the product, especially after their intake," says Chelo González, a researcher at the Universitat Politècnica de València.

Furthermore, the research conducted offers new clues to improve commercial plant-based "milks" available in the market today, which have deficiencies related to low physical stability during storage.

"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.

About plant "milks"

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 (, 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 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 are especially recommended for because of its richness in folic acid and its good calcium/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," concludes Chelo González.

Explore further: A new formula for spray-drying milk

Related Stories

A new formula for spray-drying milk

October 22, 2013

Spray-drying methods for milk based products such as baby formula or other powdered milks could be improved according to chemical engineers at the University of Sydney who have analysed current processes.

Recommended for you

Scientists overcome key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle

December 1, 2015

Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" ...

Study finds 'rudimentary' empathy in macaques

December 1, 2015

(—A pair of researchers with Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Lyon, in France has conducted a study that has shown that macaques have at least some degree of empathy towards their fellow ...

Which came first—the sponge or the comb jelly?

December 1, 2015

Bristol study reaffirms classical view of early animal evolution. Whether sponges or comb jellies (also known as sea gooseberries) represent the oldest extant animal phylum is of crucial importance to our understanding of ...

Trap-jaw ants exhibit previously unseen jumping behavior

December 1, 2015

A species of trap-jaw ant has been found to exhibit a previously unseen jumping behavior, using its legs rather than its powerful jaws. The discovery makes this species, Odontomachus rixosus, the only species of ant that ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.