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That’s a wrap! Flaxseed could boost omega-3 content of rice paper

By Stephen DANIELLS , 09-Jan-2013
Last updated on 09-Jan-2013 at 22:25 GMT

Adding flaxseed to rice paper – the wrapper used to make Asian spring rolls – may not only boost the omega-3 and fiber content, but also enhance taste and texture, says a new study from Canada.

With Asian food and flavors gaining in popularity in North America, foods such as spring rolls are increasingly main stream. Indeed, market analyst Mintel says that Asian foods and flavors are now so commonplace in the US that they are hardly considered ethnic anymore.

Manufacturers of reduced calorie frozen and chilled entrées have also favored Asian-style meals, which easily can be bulked up with vegetables and typically contain less animal protein – with the additional advantage of lower costs for the manufacturer.

While rice paper is used for the spring rolls and similar foods, the traditional rice paper is “nutritionally poor since it is made mainly from white rice, which contains mostly starch”, explained researchers from Carleton University in LWT – Food Science and Technology .

Shana Cameron, Yichen Du, and Farah Hosseinian report that adding flaxseed to the recipe can lead to omega-3 and fiber contents of 2.70 grams per 100 grams and 9.1 g/100g, respectively (while levels are zero in traditional rice paper), and increase the antioxidant capacity of the food.

In addition, taste tests with a ten-member sensory panel found that the flaxseed-enriched rice paper “was preferred in all of the tested attributes, particularly in taste and texture”.

“The food industry has made various attempts to lower the sodium content in food,” added the researchers. “This study indicated that the newly formulated omega-3 rice paper exhibited much lower sodium content (0.57 g/100 g omega-3 rice paper) than either the traditional rice paper (0.85 mg/100 g) or the hypothetical brown rice paper.”

“Since rice paper is gluten free, the addition of flaxseed will not only assist in decreasing sodium, but also aid in the development of a gluten-free food with high nutritional quality.”

Source: LWT – Food Science and Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2012.12.004
“Potential of Flaxseed in the Development of Omega-3 Rice Paper with Antioxidant Activity”
Authors: S.J. Cameron, Y. Du, F. Hosseinian

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