ENHANCING CHEESE – HOW TO IMPROVE HEALTH BENEFITS FOR CONSUMERS
By Jonas Anderson
WHAT IS ENRICHMENT OF FOODS?
Iodine deficiency can cause serious health problems like thyroid diseases and mental damage and is now still affecting millions of people worldwide. However, in many nations the problem is almost non-existent due to the addition of iodine to table salt which ensures its intake. In a similar manner, beneficial ingredients can be added to regularly eaten foods to make them healthier. This process is known as enrichment or fortification of foods.
The consumption of cheese is increasing worldwide and can therefore act as a great source of beneficial ingredients. In this article, I will go over some previous work, our current project and future prospects of the enrichment of cheese with polyphenols.
POLYPHENOLS AND THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS
Polyphenols are a class of compounds produced by plants for a wide range of functions from coloration to being antimicrobial. When eaten by humans, polyphenols act as antioxidants, which are important for human health as they counter the natural oxidative stress effect in the body. This oxidative stress is believed to be a key factor in aging and some degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and certain type of cancers. Therefore, consumption of antioxidant polyphenols could alleviate and hinder the development of such diseases. Polyphenols are commonly found in green tea, wine, cocoa, fruits, berries, vegetables and herbs and an addition of any of these to cheese would transfer the polyphenols’ benefits to cheese.