Millenary food: superfoods

Millenary food: superfoods

Foods like quinoa (or quinua) and amaranth are consumed for centuries in the Andes regions. An example of this is that in tombs more than 4,000 years old remains of these products are found which consumption is demonstrated by cultures like the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas, thereby leaving an important food legacy linked to the consumption thereof. In countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru consumption is very common and rooted in the basic diet.

Did you know that one of its main nutrients are proteins?

Proteins are molecules formed by amino acids that are necessary for the growth of the organism and perform bio regulator functions (form enzymes), the body’s defense (antibodies are proteins), homeostatic (collaborate to regulate the body’s pH), among others.

As you can see is very important protein intake to help the proper functioning of the body.

And where you can find it?

Dietary sources include proteins are meat, eggs, legumes, nuts, vegetables and dairy products.

Did you know that our body is unable to synthesize all the amino acids necessary for its correct functioning?

These amino acids are called “essential amino acids” and are ten; valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine, histidine (essential for infants), lysine, arginine (semi essential). For a protein is considered complete should contain all the essential amino acids, which is why the food we eat should contain, but most foods contain some of these, being necessary for it to use mixes of food, which in its set covering the daily intake of these amino acids. Foods that can mention which are complete proteins are meat, fish, soy, spirulina, quinoa and amaranth among others.

Consumption of quinoa and amaranth began in Europe relatively few years ago, attracted by the existing biodiversity in other regions to provide products with high nutritional value. France has a high consumption of quinoa while in Spain has not yet become widespread. One of the groups that increased consumption of these products have, are celiacs because they do not contain gluten and therefore is used as substitutes for the wheat. In Europe and the United States is consumed as whole grains, flakes, general flour, wholemeal toasted amaranth, amaranth popped the popcorn style, pre-gel powders amaranth, oils Amaranth, cereal bars, breads amaranth, tortillas amaranth and corn, among others.

Quinoa is recognized by the World Health Organization as a great source of nutrients and in 2013 was declared the International Year of Quinoa. NASA procures its crew with quinoa for extended space missions, because it is a very nutritious food. Quinoa is not only used for human consumption but serves as fodder for animal feed because of its nutritional value.

Here are some products that have been developed in other countries on the basis of Quinoa and amaranth.

Already exists wide variety of products containing quinoa and amaranth, and we believe this can be expanded much more if we trust in the capabilities of research centers such as CARTIF that are in continuous search for alternative methodologies to help alleviate various problems, they search for new applications for traditional products or obtaining products with high added value of raw materials and agricultural food waste.

Gluten-free diet: Is it a new way to lose weight?

Gluten-free diet: Is it a new way to lose weight?

Diets are a fashion and they are always changing. Almost without respite, we passed the liquids’ diet, the lingual mesh and many more. And now, it is the gluten’s turn.

It seems that the main guilty of all kind of fat problems is the gluten. But, is it true? For centuries, we have consumed bread, pasta and pastries. However, the ‘devastating’ gluten effects are more recent. We know some people who suffered stomachaches, headaches or other symptoms when they ate bread or derived products. When they asked their doctors, they said them that they were celiac or gluten intolerant, so they must consume a gluten-free diet. We have started to realize that our friends are losing weight with this kind of diet, and we have had the idea to prove it. But, is it so simple? Could you say goodbye to fatness without the gluten? I suspect not.

From the Spanish Celiacs Associations Federation recommend not start a gluten-free diet without having a bowel biopsy showing intolerance to gluten. Celiacs have to stop eating gluten because if they do it, lymphocytes attack the tissue of the intestine, causing the disappearance of the hair of it and having consequently poor absorption of nutrients.

Nutrition experts are cautious and they advise us against eating without gluten, because of the negative effects it could have on our health. Make a gluten-free diet, without professional assistance, can lead to an unbalanced and inadequate diet with more disadvantages than advantages.

Do you know that oats and barley (food with gluten) are high in soluble fiber?

Soluble fiber is formed by compounds which capture much water and are capable of forming viscous gels, help the growth of bacterial flora and decrease and slow the absorption of sugars and fats in food. This contributes to lower cholesterol and glucose blood. Therefore, it is necessary to consume foods such as oats and barley, which also have gluten. Here we only mention fiber, but foods rich in gluten also provide other essential nutrients for humans like proteins, vitamins and essential minerals.

For all these reasons, it is advisable to stay away from the pastries and the precooked and make a healthier lifestyle with a balanced diet. We must try to replace these products with other homemade foods and fewer calories and, as my mother said, eat a bit of everything but without excesses. In addition, it is important to relying on innovation to solve the problems of people with intolerances or special needs.

In CARTIF, we work on several projects in order to replace the use of industrial additives for other natural and animal fats for healthy compounds. These technological contributions work and help us to eat better. You may not have a perfect figure but, undoubtedly, you will be healthier.

How much expensive is to be a celiac in Spain?

How much expensive is to be a celiac in Spain?

Celiac disease is a condition developed by people who are intolerant to gluten and is characterized by an inflammatory reaction, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the intestine as if it were an external aggressor and causes lesions in the mucous affecting nutrients and vitamin absorption. This disease can affect both sexes by equally and can start at any time, from infancy (as soon as cereal grains are introduced into the diet) to adulthood (even when individuals have consumed cereal grains all his life).

The most common symptoms are weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stunted growth, anemia, abdominal pain, among others. Although sometimes is more complicated because there are people who do not show any of these symptoms or they may be so atypical that the diagnosis is difficult. This condition is detected by clinical examination, an analytical measuring specific antibodies (transglutaminase and immunoglobulin A) generated in the intestine and an intestinal biopsy that allows a reliable diagnosis.

But what exactly is gluten? The cause of this disease is a set of proteins contained in cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and oats, and products derived from them (white flour, white wheat, graham flour, Triticum, wheat, kamut, spelled, germ wheat, wheat bran, etc.). According to Molina-Rosell, gluten serves to give elasticity to the masses, allowing the products have volume and an elastic and fluffy. So far, the part that almost all know. But what not everyone knows is that it is also used as an additive to give viscosity, thickness or volume to a lot of foods such as sausage (chopped, mortadella, sausage, black pudding, etc.), pates, cheeses, preserved by meat and fish, sauces, coffee substitutes, chocolat and cocoa, roasted or fried nuts with flour and salt, candy, snacks and some ice cream. In resume, a celiac has it really hard to have a varied diet safely.

Fortunately, there are some solutions for not including gluten in many foods. In the case of cereals, they are replaced wheat, barley, rye and oats with corn, rice, millet, quinoa, etc. With this, celiac could safely consume bread, flour, pasta and biscuits. The problem comes when we realize that the price of these products gluten free can be up to 448% higher than foods with gluten! A very simple example, according to 2015 Prices Report: normal bread costs € 2.11 / kg. Gluten-free bread € 9.48 / kg.

The next question is why? The answer is that the process of preparing food without gluten is considerably more complicated. Without the natural “glue” that gluten produces, the masses are liquid and cannot be baked. For this reason is necessary to use other products that help to simulate the characteristics provided by the gluten. Then the hydrocolloids (locust bean gum, guar gum, xanthan gum, agar, pectins and β-glucans), emulsifiers, enzymes or proteins, starch, combined with fats and dairy derivatives are chosen to impart viscoelastic properties.

But, besides in the process of developing gluten free food, should be used exclusively equipment and utensils, or have been properly cleaned previously. Cannot use oils or fryers where previously fried foods that have gluten, nor can use trays that previously contained gluten products. According to the Guide to prepare menus without gluten, throughout the production process should prevent cross-contamination with gluten products because, for a food to be considered gluten free, must comply with the legislation (Regulation 41/2009) and contain less than 20 mg of gluten per kilogram of product.

Quite a challenge for food R&D, which is already working on new processes and systems that can streamline production and achieve a significant decline in the price of gluten free food.