Researchers work on tastier, healthier military combat rations

05/28/2013 09:56:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

produce-infused nutritonal powdersCourtesy North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina State University researchers are developing protein powders infused with healthful plant nutrients.Even the armed forces are getting on the health bandwagon and are incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their menus.

But the produce won't be in the same form as it is at schools and other institutions.

Instead, fruits and vegetables will be used to develop portable combat rations for soldiers, according to a news release.

North Carolina State University researchers are infusing protein powders—similar to those found in health and nutrition stores—with healthful compounds found in kale and muscadine grapes.

The proprietary technology also could be used to enhance other foods, such as drinks, power bars, cookies and snacks.

The research helps address how troops in the field can have food with extended shelf life that's also healthful.

In the past, a primary hurdle of having solders eat more produce is storage and transportation.

“Fresh produce is a critical component in everyday diets and health, especially for soldiers who are exposed to harsh conditions and increasingly demanding mental and physical challenges,” Mary Ann Lila, Plants for Human Health Institute director, said in the release. “Natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables can help increase physical and cognitive capacity, improve immune function and inhibit chronic disease development in soldiers.”

The university's Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies received a $60,000 grant to support the research.

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