The aim of this research was to obtain a natural functional food (obtained by modifying animal herd fodder) which could be beneficial to the health of the consumer, while taking into account the welfare of the animals at all times.
The research, in which the Cattle and Sheep Dairy Association of Navarre and the Basque Country (Spanish acronym Alvo) and the Ardiberri Technological Centre have also participated, was carried out with 20 volunteers, who consumed a quantity of milk curds with a modified profile and another control amount. The order in which each volunteer consumed then was chosen at random and, for six hours after consumption, they were subjected to a series of trials in order to evaluate the effects on their metabolism.
“The results enable us to state that, while consuming these milk curds did not give rise to significant differences in values of cholesterol, the reduction of marker levels for cardiovascular risk (Apolypoprotein B) was quite patent. Also, due to the low sugar content of these products, the glucose levels are not substantially modified”, underlined the lead researcher, Mr.Alfredo Martínez.
Based on milk with a healthier profile of fatty acids
The project was developed in three stages: in the first, the professionals at Postres Tradicionales de Ultzama, together with experts from the Technological Centres selected the sheep fodder that would produce, in a natural way, milk enriched with certain fatty acids; the second involved making curds from this milk, maintaining the fatty acid profile achieved; and finally, the effects compared to standard curds were analysed through undertaking nutritional trials with humans.
For the first stage, finalised in April 2011 and which had the collaboration of the two technological centres, the aim was to find a healthy fodder for the company’s own flocks, as a result of which they also obtained milk with a healthier fatty acids profile. After various trials, the final result was milk with an increased content of oleic acid and with reduced saturated fatty acids.
In stage two, Postres Tradicionales de Ultzama made its curds in the traditional manner from the raw milk obtained in the previous stage, giving rise to a final product with similar characteristics to the raw material, i.e. with a more favourable fatty acids profile.
Once the first two stages were achieved, the nutritional study was initiated by the team of experts from the University of Navarra.