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Probiotic Pizza Joins Functional Foods Market

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2009-09-18 13:19

One of America’s favorite foods has gone probiotic and may actually help your gut rather than give you heartburn. Move over yogurt, probiotic pizza has already made its debut and could be widely available in the near future alongside other functional foods.

Functional foods are those that contain ingredients that aid specific bodily functions, in addition to being nutritious. The functional food and beverage market has been growing in recent years as consumers become more concerned about their health. According to the market research publisher Packaged Facts in its new report, “Functional Foods and Beverages in the US,”, the retail market for functional foods and beverages rose 6 percent in 2008, with sales totaling nearly $31 billion, an increase from $29 billion in 2007. Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) are an important part of the movement.

The probiotic pizza is the creation of Jeff Leach, an archaeologist by education and head of Paleobiotics Lab, an independent research group that investigates nutritional and dietary evolution and its impact on health. Transforming one of America’s most popular and unhealthy foods into a nutritious choice could not come at a better time, as people are struggling with an epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other critical health issues. Functional foods can be an integral part of the battle.

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Along with his business partner Randy Crochet, Leach has formulated a pizza crust that contains 12 types of whole grains and is fortified with a prebiotic (Beneo Orafti’s Synergy 1) and the beneficial bacteria Bacillus coagulans strain (Ganeden Biotech), which has been shown to increase the body’s immune response to viruses in a recent study. Prebiotics are substances that nourish and support the activities of probiotics.

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