In 2009, 301 beverages with heart healthy claims were launched globally, according to Innova Market Insights, Duiven, The Netherlands. Last year, heart healthy claims in beverages globally were up 36 percent from the year before and 65 percent from 2007.
Several beverage companies picked up on the popularity of heart health benefits with consumers. From January 2009 to June 2010, globally dairy drinks, tea, dairy alternative drinks, hot chocolate and coffee categories led with the most new products launched with heart health claims, Innova says. Dairy drinks possessed the most new product launches with heart health claims, holding 34.8 percent of the beverage launches in the market. Tea followed with 33.9 percent and dairy alternative drinks with 25.9 percent of the total new beverages with heart health claims.
Beverage formulators are using many different ingredients to provide these heart health benefit claims. From January 2009 to June 2010, the top ingredients used in new heart health beverages globally include vitamin E, phytosterols, soy protein, magnesium, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), beetroot juice and grape seed extract, Innova says.
While several of the same ingredients are used in beverages in the United States to make heart health claims, the top 10 ingredients used and their popularity varies slightly from the world market. Vitamin E and magnesium are the two standout leaders as the top ingredients used in heart healthy beverages in the United States, followed by omega-3 fatty acids, grape seed extract, phytosterols, soy protein, niacin, flaxseed, DHA and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Innova says.
Among all food and beverage products launched in the United States and world during the time period, whole grain was the most popular ingredient included in heart healthy new products. While the number of whole grain beverage launches aren’t as high as food categories’ launch levels, last year Odwalla, a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Co., released Wholly Grain!, a whole grain Tropical Medley flavored fruit smoothie blend with 16 grams of whole grains per 8-ounce serving. The beverage is made with gluten-free whole grain brown rice.
Beverage-makers often use a blend of ingredients to create a heart healthy beverage and address consumers’ heart health concerns. Vitamin E and C many times appear in heart healthy beverages to help remove from the body free radicals, which are believed to increase the chances of heart disease, cancer and premature aging, researchers say. CoQ10, another antioxidant, also removes free radicals from the body and is involved in a key biochemical reaction that produces energy in cells and may aid in the health of the cardiovascular system, researchers say.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, may raise good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and remove bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, researchers say. For minerals, magnesium and calcium aid in overall nerve tissue protection and help in blood circulation, studies say.
Taking a note from wine’s heart healthy associations, Cyvex Nutrition, Irvine, Calif., recently received generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status for BioVin Full Spectrum Grape Extract and BioVin 20 Grape Skin Extract to be used in a range of beverages and foods. Cyvex Nutrition’s BioVin offers high solubility for use in beverage applications, the company says.
BioVin is grape extract manufactured from whole red wine grapes from the Rhone Valley in France. By using the grape in its entirety, including stems, seeds and skin, all the beneficial phytochemicals can be extracted, including anthocyanidins, proanthocyanidins, trans-resveratrol and polyphenols, the company says. BioVin is an antioxidant that contains no less than 20 percent polyphenols. The ingredient helps to support resistance to oxidation, which provides cardiovascular protection, and may also help poor capillary elasticity and structure by inhibiting harmful enzymes, the company says.
Préventivwater, Haverford, Pa., recently released a 16-ounce enhanced bottled water with the same heart healthy benefits as a case of red wine, the company says. Préventivwater contains 25 mg. of trans-resveratrol, an antioxidant and polyphenol found in the skin of red wine grapes. Available in Pomegranate Pinot, Berry Bordeaux and Cabernet Grape, the waters contain no alcohol, artificial sweeteners, sugar, calories, flavors or preservatives.
Plant sterols and fiber
Phytoserols, also called plant sterols, are another ingredient frequently included in heart healthy beverages. Plant sterols are a plant extract that can be incorporated into beverages without affecting flavor or texture, but give a cloudy appearance, suppliers say.
Cargill, Minneapolis, offers CoroWise plant sterols, which are featured in beverages such as Minute Maid Heart Wise and Rice Dream Heartwise. CoroWise also recently launched in several milks. Products containing CoroWise plant sterols can display the U.S. Food and Drug Administration health claim: “Foods or beverages containing at least 0.4 gram plant sterols, when consumed twice a day with meals for a total intake of 0.8 gram/day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” Clinical studies suggest that plant sterols can reduce cholesterol 8 to 15 percent, Cargill says.
ADM Natural Health & Nutrition, Decatur, Ill., offers CardioAid plant sterols, which also qualify for the FDA-approved health claim that phytosterols help lower cholesterol. Less cholesterol absorption is possible when plant sterols are present, reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the circulatory system, ADM says.
Plant sterols are best formulated into protein-containing beverages, such as dairy and soy, because protein improves the stability and mouthfeel, ADM says. ADM also developed a water-dispersible ingredient, CardioAid-SWD, which is already combined with sodium caseinate. It disperses in water similar to coffee creamer, the company says.
Cognis, La Grange, Ill., also offers a line of plant sterols called Heart Choice, now also available in Canada. Heart Choice phytosterols are clinically proven to lower cholesterol up to 15 percent and also are allowed a FDA approved health claim. Heart Choice phytosterols work in a range of applications for beverages, including yogurt drinks and vegetable and fruit juices.
In addition to plant sterols, fiber is another ingredient recognized by consumers for its heart health attributes. Cargill offers Barlív barley betafiber, a natural soluble fiber developed from barley. Barlív barley betafiber received approval for the FDA claim: “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 3 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber per day from barley fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Clinical studies with Barlív barley betafiber have shown that consuming 3 grams per day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 9.5 percent without reducing HDL cholesterol, Cargill says. Barlív barley betafiber appears in Bolthouse Farms’ Heart Healthy Pear Merlot fruit juice. One serving of the all-natural juice contains 0.75 grams of Barlív.
Stratum Nutrition, a Novus International business, located in St. Charles, Mo., released a new heart healthy ingredient, Artinia. Artinia is a patent pending vegetarian ingredient that combines benefits of both soluble and insoluble fibers to promote arterial health, the company says. Studies have shown that Artinia supports the body’s natural antioxidant system to help defend against the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidized LDL. Artinia has Novel Food status in the European Union, and the company is currently pursuing self-affirmed GRAS status for the ingredient in the United States.
Omega-3 fatty acids have become a popular ingredient for inclusion in beverages and foods for their purported health benefits. The FDA permits a qualified health claim that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Cognis offers marine sourced, ultra refined Omevital omega-3 fatty acids. Omevital can be used in functional beverages and foods and delivers DHA and EPA, the company says. The ingredient is available in an encapsulated powder for formulation ease. Omevital offers a FDA qualified health claim for “reduction in the risk of heart disease.”
Martek Biosciences, Columbia, Md., supplies Life’sDHA, which is a vegetarian source of DHA derived from algae. The company manufactures its own microalgae as a sustainable source of omega-3, the company says.
Zymes LLC, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., developed a solubilizing technology to allow for stable omega-3 compounds that can be used in clear beverages. Zymes has used its technology to develop omega-3 fortified beverages that offer a one-year shelf life, the company says.
Hormel Foods Specialty Products Division, Austin, Minn., created a line of shelf-stable omega-3 fish oils, Eterna Omegasource EPA and DHA ingredients. In July, Hormel released its new Eterna Omegasource omega-3 EPA/DHA and vitamin D combination ingredient for beverage and food applications. The blended ingredient contains efficacious doses of omega-3 DHA and EPA and vitamin D and is allergen free, GRAS affirmed and kosher, the company says.
As with omega-3 EPA and DHA, vitamin D stability is an issue, especially when exposed to light, the company says. Hormel Foods’ proprietary technologies stabilize and protect the ingredients, allowing for easier emulsion in water-based drinks such as sports and energy drinks, smoothies and fruit juices, the company says. BI