Enriched nutraceuticals in gluten-free, whole-grain rice cookies with alternative sweeteners

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The rising demand for nutritious foods provides manufacturers an opportunity to diversify their products to cater to specific markets. Whole-grain cookies made from GI-tagged rice landraces, Kalanamak and Chak-hao, offer distinct sensory qualities and are nutritious and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, fiber, and bioactive compounds. 

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) has been a fundamental part of the human diet for thousands of years and has played a significant role in the green revolution to achieve food security in Asia. However, the milling process removes the outer bran and embryo, which results in white rice grain with a high glycemic index and reduced nutrient content. In contrast, brown rice is an unpolished whole grain that contains more dietary fiber, amino acids, phytosterols, phenolics, and bioactive compounds compared to white rice.  Additionally, pigmented rice varieties, such as red rice, black rice, and purple rice, are even more nutrient-dense than brown rice due to their enriched antioxidant properties.

Kalanamak, which gets its name from the black husk (kala) and salt (namak), is a prominent landrace from Uttar Pradesh. Chak-hao, a black rice accession, is a fragrant variety of sticky rice, which derives its name from its delicious taste. Both of these landraces are widely cultivated in geographical indicator regions.

Our previous research has shown that popped rice made from these landraces retains high levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants, making them not just flavorful, but also nutritious. Due to changes in lifestyle and socioeconomic conditions and increased awareness of their nutritional benefits, pigmented rice, as a stand-alone food product or as an ingredient in food products, has attracted increased attention in recent years.

Therefore, the deployment of geographical indicator (GI)-tagged rice landraces can help in the development of additional rice food products with unique and desirable traits to diversify consumer demands.

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