Food scientists at the National University of Singapore have reportedly discovered an extremely healthy probiotic beverage that can developed from tofu and soy pulp residue. The leftover, known as okara, is often thrown away, however, in a groundbreaking research, doctorate student Vong Weng Chan and Prof. Liu Shao Quan have discovered a way to turn it into a nutritious probiotic drink.
For the uninitiated, probiotics are micro-organisms, often found in products like yogurt, buttermilk, and some varieties of cheese. When consumed in the right manner, the live probiotics aid digestion, boost immunity, regulate stomach burns, and maintain overall gut health.
The drink is prepared by blending probiotics, yeast, dietary fiber, and amino acids with okara. It takes about 1.5 days for the mixture to be fermented until it becomes a consumable drink. Compressing these nutrients into a refreshing beverage will accelerate digestion and promote overall human health, claim sources.
Reportedly, the refreshing drink can survive at room temperature for a maximum of six weeks, without losing the number of live probiotics that ensure a healthy consumption, state sources. This drink evidently has a longer shelf life compared to commercially available probiotic drinks that are often dairy-based and need to be refrigerated in order to preserve the levels of live probiotics. Those drinks have a shelf-life of hardly four weeks and are also unfit for people with lactose intolerance.
Apparently, okara isn’t a flavorful ingredient, it is known to smell fishy, taste bland, and feel gritty in the mouth. The biggest challenge was to make it edible despite its unappealing features, claims Prof Liu. The drink became a reality by combining a fruity aroma with healthy bacteria to keep the probiotics alive.
According to Professor Liu of the NUS Food Science and Technology Program, around 10,000 tons of okara is produced in Singapore annually out of which 80% is discarded.
The researchers have patented the recipe and are currently seeking industry partners to commercialize their invention, cite sources.