July 9, 2008

New Ice Cream Good For Your Heart

By Nathan Beaumont

People with a sweet tooth can indulge in sugary delights and not feel guilty, according to Massey University, which is developing ice cream that reduces the risk of heart attack and strokes.

The university has developed a technology that allows Omega 3 -- a fatty acid derived from fish oil that is credited with helping heart conditions -- to be added to ice cream, but without the fishy aftertaste.

The technique, which is also being tested in yogurt and cheese, could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in worldwide exports.

The success with ice cream has paved the way to see if other healthy ingredients can be added to food to fight disease, including cancer.

The university has had some success at adding lycopene -- the pigment that makes fruits and vegetables red, such as tomatoes -- into some foods. Studies have shown that high consumption of lycopene-rich vegetables is associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

The research was under the spotlight at the opening of the university's $6.5 million food technology plant in Palmerston North yesterday.

Plant director Professor Charles Brennan was delighted with the research. "It's a novel process and the results have been good so far. It has a lot of potential to provide many health benefits."


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