Could eating ice cream make you healthier? There is growing interest in adding nutriceuticals – foods with medicinal properties – to ice cream.
Getting them into ice cream is relatively easy. The trick is to do it in such a way that the finished product still tastes like ice cream and not like fish, as happened in some early trials.
Scientists Bob Roberts and Eric Decker are working on ways to add Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce levels of blood fats linked with cardiovascular disease, to ice cream.
The research is part of a broader trend toward developing “functional foods,” everyday items fortified with extra nutrients. Some chicken farmers already produce eggs fortified with Omega-3. Other examples include calcium-fortified orange juice and margarines with cholesterol-lowering compounds.
Roberts also is looking at ways to add probiotic microbes to ice cream. Depending on the species, such microbes could aid in digestion, boost the immune system or fight bad bacteria.