No two phrases are better known in the health food community as ‘gluten-free’ and ‘antioxidant.’ Now, scientists say they’ve developed a snack from hemp that could offer both these benefits — and more.
A team of Canadian and Serbian food scientists have come up with a new formula for crackers which they claim are far healthier than your typical gluten-free snack.
The team chose hemp flour, instead of the more popular brown rice flour, as their base. Hemp flour is traditionally discarded as a by-product of hemp oil processing, but has recently been used to fortify certain gluten-free foods.
Combining the flour with decaffeinated green tea leaves to boost antioxidant levels, the scientists managed to create gluten-free crackers that “were high in minerals, fibers, and omega-3 fatty acids with a desirable omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids ratio.”
The crackers also showed “enhanced nutritional quality” compared to similar products on the market, the group wrote this month in the Journal of Food Science.
In taste tests, consumers described the crackers as having a “pleasant, nutty flavor” with a “very distinctive crunchiness.”
Hemp flour is starting to draw attention as a food ingredient because of its rich array of dietary essentials. Using by-products as food ingredients also has benefits for global sustainability, the team explains.
The crackers may hold promise as functional food products, they add, which are defined by Health Canada as foods that offer significant health benefits, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Hemp products are frequently noted for their unique profile of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. A diet rich in these fats is thought to help in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and various inflammatory disorders.