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Health Food of the month - Ice cream

August 2017

couple eating ice cream

Find the ice cream that is cool for you!


Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Apricots

Broad beans

Kiwi fruit


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

August....holiday time, summer weather (well warm rain at least!)...and of course time for ice cream.

Ice cream is one of the nation’s favourite foods, loved not just by children at the seaside but by adults of all ages too. Today it comes in all sorts of exotic types and flavours, a long way from the milk and rice mixture that was frozen in snow as the beginnings of ice cream around 500BC in China.

The ice cream we knew as kids followed a traditional recipe of cream or milk mixed with sugar and possibly eggs plus flavouring such as vanilla and chocolate and stabilisers.

Stabilizers are used to keep the ice cream knitted together in a good texture and to reduce ice crystals growing when ice cream is stored.  Stabilizers are considered under European law as a food additive, and are usually derived from plants and sometimes animal by-products.

Of course while you don’t eat ice cream as a serious health food, nevertheless the milk and indeed cream offers a whole host of benefits. While is small quantities, nevertheless full milk or cream ice cream will offer calcium, vitamin C, D, K, E; B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folate.

 But there is a fat content to be considered.

Today you can buy organic ice cream and also light ice cream containing at least 25% less milk fat than regular hard ice cream, but it will still contain sugar to give it that lovely sweet flavour.

Search the supermarkets and shops though, and you might be surprised at the different ice creams that are available for different dietary requirements and tastes.

You can today buy fat free frozen dairy dessert. This ice cream still tastes great but contains about 0.5% fat or less per serving. These ice cream desserts also can be found made with artificial or natural sweeteners rather than sugar. The taste may not be quite the same but this can be outweighed by the health benefits and are still definitely delicious! 

Dairy free maker Alpro offers a range of dairy free ice creams including vanilla, coconut and hazelnut chocolate and another big player entering the non-dairy ice cream market is Swedish Glace. Both are found at top supermarkets and while the contents avoid any dairy product, the look, texture and taste is still amazing and can be a wonderful substitute for traditional ice cream.

Lactose free ice cream is a fairly new addition to the market; this ice cream is made by a growing number of companies who recognise lactose free diets are becoming more common for people with lactose intolerance or digestive problems.

In this list of special products, there is also gluten free ice cream. Gluten can be in the stabilizers in ice cream or in other ingredients. This ice cream is more difficult to find in normal supermarkets, but Coeliac UK has a great information page including ideas of how to make your own.

If you are avoiding cows’ milk, you can also buy other ice creams such as goats’ milk ice cream or even buffalo ice cream from the growing number of specialist buffalo farms across the UK.

Apart from the ingredients, there are also the different types of ice cream themselves.

Gelato is a top favourite, and this dense Italian ice cream is usually based on milk rather than cream, with egg yolks, sugar and flavourings to give it an intense flavour in a slightly heavier mix.

One of the latest crazies in ice cream is baobab ice cream. The health products obtainable from the long living weirdly shaped baobab tree have been much heralded in recent years and now a company called Oppo is selling ice cream made with Madagascan vanilla and also with baobab fruit pulp mixed in. You can check its contents here.

And so the list goes on. There isn’t actually a slimming ice cream on the market yet, but it can be well worth while researching ice cream a bit before buying your usual tub.  If nothing else, an unusual ice cream will certainly be a good conversational piece among friends.

 


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