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March 17, 2014 by APRIL McCARTHY
Gluten-Free Crackers Made With Hemp Flour and Green Tea Leaves May Soon Be Hitting The Market

Consumers are demanding healthy alternatives to the wheat saturated food industry which offers minimal nutrition and high risk for both those sensitive to wheat and those wishing reduce inflammation. A team of food scientists from University of Novi Sad in Serbia and Guelph Food Research Centre in Canada has 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).

The snack industry is worth billions globally, but too few products in this area carry functional formulas to assist digestion and health in general. While dehydrated crackers and breads are the highest in nutritional value, something has to be done to serve and satisfy the consumer-driven demand for crackers with a long-shelf life yet more nutrition than the current wheat standard. The world's most popular grain is also the deadliest for the human metabolism. Modern wheat isn't really wheat at all and is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat.

That's where 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.

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.

"This is a very functional type of blend that could serve western populations very well, not only reducing inflammatory processes associated with wheat, but also minimizing gluten sensitivities," said food chemist and scientist Avril Malicki. "We expect these types of functional foods to be hitting the market aggressively in the next 5 years," she stated.

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.

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

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