Linseed is believed to protect against cancer, but the taste is a real turn-off for most people.
Researchers have now isolated the valuable components of linseed (flax seeds), which when mixed with bread, cakes or dressings, don’t leave an unpleasant aftertaste
Cakes that can ward off cancer or noodles that lower the cholesterol level could soon be a reality. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising (Germany) have isolated valuable components of linseed and lupin seeds.
They have experimentally incorporated them in various foodstuffs: the linseed in cakes, bread, dressings and sauces, the lupins in bread, rolls and pasta. The result is not only delicious, but healthy as well.
“Flax is not only high in soluble fibre, but also contains lignans. These substances are phytoestrogens, so they have a similar effect to that of the isoflavones that we know from soya beans,” said IVV project manager Katrin Hasenkopf.
“According to literature, they protect the organism against hormone-dependent forms of cancer – that is, breast and prostate cancer,” added Hasenkopf. “The lupins, on the other hand, contain substances that our studies have found to have a positive impact on the cholesterol level.”
But how do the researchers isolate the valuable components? “We make use of the differing solubility of the various constituents: If the pH value is acidic, the unwanted bitter substances are the first to dissolve.
pH value is a way of expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The neutral point is pH value 7.0, with acids having lower values and alkalis having higher values.
“If the pH value is then set back to neutral, you get the valuable proteins – without the bitter taste. We are also able to separate large components from small ones by a series of filtration steps,” explained Hasenkopf.
“The healthy effects of linseed and lupin seeds are already known from literature, but so far there is a lack of conclusive scientific investigations on the subject. These substances undoubtedly have very high potential,” she said.
In about three years, the new cholesterol-lowering foodstuffs are expected to be available on supermarket shelves – maybe even including cakes, bread rolls and sauces enriched with the valuable substances obtained from flax seeds.
The researchers will be presenting the linseed and lupin foods at the Biotechnica trade fair in Hanover on Oct 7-9.
Sources: The Times Of India