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Natural Products Expo West 2012 Part Two

March 19, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Among the trends spotted at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, was an attempt to make dairy or dairy-alternatives accessible to virtually everyone. To that end, some manufacturers catered to consumers who prefer organic over conventional milk. Other products offered vegan versions of cheese, milk and even yogurt. There was cream on top or unhomogenized dairy and nonfat options galore. The one common denominator was an undeniable sense that health conscience consumers want more variety in the dairy aisle.

Four newly introduced dairy and dairy-inspired products caught my eye at Expo West 2012. Two of them are intended for those who choose to abstain from dairy for health or philosophical reasons. The remaining duo represent new and improved options for consumers who enjoy milk and yogurt.

Good Karma Flax Milk - The unsweetened version of this vegan product contains only 25 calories per cup. Each 8 oz servings boasts a modest amount (1,200 mg) of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid and is fortified with calcium and vitamins A, B12 and D. If you’re sensitive to or don’t care for the taste of other milk alternatives, this one is worth a try.

So Delicious Almond Plus - I’m a big fan of unsweetened almond milk. In most ways, it compares favorably to conventional cow’s milk. However, the one area where it is lacking is in the protein department. This new entry into the un-dairy world compensates for this by adding 4 grams of non-GMO pea and rice protein to the base of the unsweetened almond milk. Even so, it’s still considerably lower in calories (only 40 calories/cup) and higher in nutrients than most other dairy and non-dairy milks on the market.

Organic Valley Grassmilk - If you’re going to drink cow’s milk, it’s worth seeking out a source that is derived from grass-fed cows. Organic Valley is the first, farmer-owned company to offer a full range of non-homogenized, grass-fed milk and butter. Not only are the prized cows allowed a more humane existence, but the end product is also healthier because the cows are not given antibiotics or hormones. In addition, cows raised on open pastures produce milk that is richer in health promoting CLA and omega-3 fatty acids.

Nancy’s Organic Probiotic Greek Yogurt - This is the first Greek yogurt I’m aware of that claims to provide a mighty 26 billion live probiotics per serving – at expiration date. I personally recommend the plain, whole fat version which is free of any additives except several carefully selected probiotics. The strains of probiotics included in this Greek yogurt have been shown to improve: a) oral health by discouraging the growth of cariogenic bacteria; b) immune function and/or resistance to infection in infants and adults; c) antioxidant status, blood sugar control and lipid profiles in diabetics and pregnant women; d) gastrointestinal symptoms in patients living with irritable bowel syndrome; e) neurocognitive function in adults with chronic fatigue syndrome. In addition, a recent experiment indicates that yogurt provides an optimal matrix which effectively delivers viable probiotics into the gut where they exert much of their therapeutic activity.

Good Karma Flax Milk and So Delicious Almond Plus are currently available in select health food stores and markets. Nancy’s Organic Probiotic Greek Yogurt and Organic Valley Grassmilk should make their way to a vendor near you in next few months. This might be a good time to re-evaluate the milk and/or milk-alternatives you’re currently using to see if there’s a better option now available.

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Salivary Mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli Modulations in Young (link)

Study 2 - S. Mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli Modulations in Young Children (link)

Study 3 - Bifidobacterium Lactis Bb12 Enhances Intestinal Antibody Response (link)

Study 4 - Effect of Yoghurt Containing Bifidobacterium Lactis Bb12® on Faecal(link)

Study 5 - Probiotic Yogurt Improves Antioxidant Status in Type 2 Diabetic Patients (link)

Study 6 - Effect of Probiotic Yogurt Containing Lactobacillus Acidophilus and (link)

Study 7 - Impact of Maternal Probiotic-Supplemented Dietary Counseling on (link)

Study 8 - Effects of Probiotic Fermented Milk on Symptoms and Intestinal Flora (link)

Study 9 - Effect of Supplement with Lactic-Acid Producing Bacteria on Fatigue and (link)

Study 10 - Persistence of Probiotic Strains in the Gastrointestinal Tract When (link)

Probiotic-Enriched Yogurt May Reduce Infection Risk

Source: Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:138 (link)

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