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Scoop of the day! Ice cream fortified with chia seed oil found to be a ‘superb’ source of omega-3

Millette Burgos

By Millette Burgos+

15-Mar-2017
Last updated on 15-Mar-2017 at 07:12 GMT2017-03-15T07:12:54Z

Scoop of the day! Come and get your nutrition-flavoured ice cream. ©iStock
Scoop of the day! Come and get your nutrition-flavoured ice cream. ©iStock

This could be as close to guilt-free that ice cream is ever going to get: Researchers have revealed that fortification with chia seed oil ramps up omega-3 levels while maintaining taste and texture.

Academics from the Department of Dairy Technology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Pakistan said ice cream fortified with chia seed oil enhanced the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and improved the antioxidant properties of ice cream.

“These results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant characteristics of ice cream may be improved with olein fraction of chia oil for discerning consumers,” they wrote in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease.

“The olein fraction of chia oil may open new avenues for increasing functional value of foods. It may be used as superb source of omega-3 fatty acids in several food items,” they added.

Previous studies found that blending of milk fat with vegetable oils had a pronounced effect on the fatty acid profile of the fats and oils. For example, one study found that partial replacement of milk fat with flaxseed oil enhanced the concentration of beneficial unsaturated fatty acids.

The Indian government’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has also developed an ice cream product fortified with omega-3 fatty acids to be used for its nutrition programme. Called Nutrice, this omega-3 rich vegetarian ice cream uses white chia seed oil to supplement the fatty acids.

The first omega-3 fortified ice cream was launched in 2001, but that contained fish oils. Only in the last year or so have those containing chia seeds emerged, with very few, if any, containing just the oil.

Chia produces about 35-40% superior quality edible oil which contains about 63-65% omega-3 fatty acids.

“The role of omega-3 fatty acids as cardiac, hepatic protective, anti-inflammatory, and brain and eye developers have been scientifically established,” researchers wrote.

“With greater than 72% α-linolenic acid (ALA), olein fraction of chia oil may be regarded as the richest source of ALA acid.”

Ice cream batches

To determine the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and oxidative stability of ice cream fortified with chia seed oil, researchers prepared four batches of ice cream along with a control, with the following formulations:

Control used 100% milk fat; T1 had 95% milk fat and 5% chia oil; T2 had 90% milk fat and 10% chia oil; T3 with 85% milk fat and 15% chia oil; and T4 with 80% milk fat and 20% chia oil.

“The ice cream samples stored at −18 °C for 60 days were analysed at 0, 30 and 60 days of the storage period,” researchers said.

“Fatty acid profile, total phenolic contents, total flavonoids, free fatty acids, peroxide value, anisidine value and sensory characteristics of ice cream samples was studied.”

Results revealed that T4 generated the highest concentration of the fatty acids –ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) before storage.

After 60 days in storage, fatty acids concentration of all batches decreased. However, T4 still showed the highest concentration of fatty acids except for DHA, which went to T1.

Total flavonoid and phenolic (antioxidant) compounds were also highest in the T4 batch.

Meanwhile, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging activity of T4 also topped at 74.91% compared to T1, T2 and T3 at 17.43, 36.84 and 51.17% respectively.

Furthermore, the chia oil did not have any impact on colour, flavour and texture of fresh ice cream.

“Total phenolic contents, total flavonoids and DPPH free radical scavenging activity of supplemented ice creams were greater compared to that of control,” researchers added.

“Supplementation of ice cream with olein fraction of chia oil significantly improved the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in ice cream.”

 

Source: Lipids in Health and Disease

DOI 10.1186/s12944-017-0420-y

“Omega-3 fatty acids and oxidative stability of ice cream supplemented with olein fraction of chia (Salvia hispanica L.) oil”

Authors: Rahman Ullah, Muhammad Nadeem et al.

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