Hazelnuts May Make Better Baby Formula

Researchers at the University of Georgia are saying that fats from hazelnut oil may be the key to making a better baby formula.

A recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry shows that fats from hazelnut oil contain certain healthful fatty acids at the same molecular position found on fats from human milk.

"The fatty acid profile of human milk is the gold standard when designing the fat composition of infant formulas," said Casimir Akoh, a research professor of food science and technology at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "The unique structure of human milk fat increases digestion and absorption of the fatty acids and improves calcium absorption."

The fatty acids in question are important to the development of the brain and other organs, according to UPI.

As a result of his research, Akoh was able to use hazelnut oil to create a new nutrient that mimics the molecular structure of human milk, which could potentially make it better suited as a food source for infants than is available in current baby formula.

While the research still indicates that human milk is the best food source for babies, Akoh's findings may help provide a second-best option.