Fish oil is an underused ingredient in the food industry because of its association with a strong odor and aftertaste. A new study in the February issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, shows that fish oil can be added to goat cheese to deliver high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids without compromising taste or shelf-life.
Fish oil delivers higher levels and more balanced proportions of omega-3 fatty acids compared to other sources such as flax and algal oil. Unfortunately, fish oil oxidizes more quickly making food fortification a challenge.
Dairy has been shown to be a good matrix for fish oil fortification because it is commonly consumed and has unique properties that seem to protect fish oil. Soft goat cheese has lower fat than other cheeses making it appealing for those looking for healthy flavorful food choices.
Further research is ongoing by the University of Maine food scientists who conducted this study to assess the stability and consumer acceptance of fish oil fortified baked snack products, as well as to explore uses for naturally flavored fish oil from fishery by-products.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT’s mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.
For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.
Fish Oil Benefits
The intake of the recommended amount of DHA and EPA has been shown to have many heart healthy benefits. Consumption of dietary fish or fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides-a certain type of blood fat-and increase “good” cholesterol, while slightly thinning the blood. All of these factors help reduce the risk of heart attack. Fish oil also helps to prevent dangerous abnormal heart rhythms that can cause sudden cardiac death, and strokes in people with known cardiovascular disease. In addition to the numerous benefits already mentioned for the heart, fish oil can also slow the hardening of arteries and slightly lower blood pressure-two more important factors of heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for the heart; they also help to reduce inflammation. This is perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, as inflammation is associated with many serious diseases. Heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s, for example, are characterized by increased levels of pro-inflammatory markers. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil reduce inflammation by preventing production of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules. This may help to prevent serious illness associated with inflammation.
The ability of fish oil to reduce inflammation is not only good for preventing serious illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. Fish oil is also effective in reducing the symptoms and pain of arthritis. Morning stiffness and joint tenderness was shown to decrease with regular intake of fish oil supplements. Fish oil does not act as a painkiller, and it takes regular use before a difference is noticed. However, fish oil is a viable, natural way to reduce the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis if one is dedicated to the long term outcome rather than focused on immediate cessation of symptoms.
As if the benefits of fish oil on heart health and arthritis were not enough, it is believed that fish oil also helps with anti-aging as well. Omega-3 fatty acids slow the rate at which protective caps on the end of chromosomes shorten, thus increasing the lifespan of cells. The caps, or telomeres, are made from copied strands of DNA and prevent the chromosomes from becoming damaged. When a cell divides, its telomere gets shorter until it can get no shorter and the DNA becomes damaged. When the DNA is damaged the cell no longer divides. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil slows the deterioration of the telomeres, resulting in longer life of cells.
Institute of Food Technologists