The market for gluten-free foods with functional properties is growing immensely across virtually all food categories on a global level. The need to replace wheat proteins, fibers, and minerals is very important in order to provide a better selection and more nutritious food for consumers that belong to this segment of the population. At the same time, the use of by-products of the food processing industry as a source of functional ingredients such as antioxidants, phenols, fibers and proteins is on the rise, which supports global sustainability.
A team of food scientists from University of Novi Sad in Serbia and Guelph Food Research Centre in Canada found that hemp flour, a by-product of cold-pressed hemp oil, in combination with decaffeinated green tea leaves could be used to develop a gluten-free snack cracker with functional properties. The study is in the current issue of Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).
Hemp flour, as a by-product of cold-pressing oil process, is rich in proteins, fibers, phytochemicals, minerals, omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, and therefore a very valuable ingredient to use for food production. In terms of amino acid composition, hempseed proteins are comparable to the egg white and soy protein. Green tea leaves contain compounds that have been shown to have health benefits including cancer prevention of many types as well as decreasing LDL cholesterol levels.
The findings of this study, where hemp flour and decaffeinated green tea leaves were incorporated into crackers, suggest that consumers may benefit from consuming these gluten-free crackers with superior nutritional qualities in terms of high protein, crude fibers, minerals and essential fatty acids content and antioxidant properties.