Chicory root fibers found to provide digestive health and natural defense benefits to children

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12 Jul 2018 --- Consuming chicory root fibers can bring important health benefits to kindergarten children aged three to six years, according to research by Professor Tamás Decsi and Szminoetta Lohner at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Pécs, Hungary. Previous studies have demonstrated a strengthening of the natural defense system in infants and children between birth and two years of age. However, this is the first time this evidence has been established for this age group.

The human intervention study, which examined the supplementation of a daily dosage of 6g of chicory root fiber during the autumn and winter period, demonstrated various health benefits amongst children. These include improved gut microbiota composition, softer stools in a normal range and fewer incidences of infections in the group of three to six-year-old children. 

Regular intake of a dedicated composition of chicory root fiber, a variant of Orafti inulin, was found to support the gut microbiota of the children by increasing bifidobacterial and lactobacilli numbers. This resulted in lower numbers of fever episodes requiring a physician’s consultation and sinusitis in kindergarten children. Also, the positive effect on digestive health was further supported by a softer stool consistency. 

Acute infections, particularly in the winter season, are common in kindergarten children. The negative impact of the children’s poor well-being can be linked to increased health care costs and workday losses by the caretaking parent(s). This latest research highlights that the risk of such infections can be reduced by incorporating chicory root fiber, Orafti inulin, into the daily diet of children to strengthen their defense forces and improve digestive health. 

 “This study demonstrates the importance of healthy, prevention orientated eating in this age group. By making small adjustments to your daily choices, you can achieve significant improvements to your health status, from very early on. It also shows once again that your microbiota composition matters. With the chicory root fiber used in this study, we can strengthen their natural defense forces. These are very exciting results that can be achieved by these particular dietary fibers,” says Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO.

Speaking to NutritionInsight about new avenues for R&D and research, following this study, Sentko points to the importance of the human microbiome.

“The effect of the microbiome on human metabolism is much greater than researchers previously thought. Consuming nutrients, such as prebiotic chicory root fiber, that positively influence the microbiota composition, is a powerful way to help stay healthy in various ways. Given these latest findings, we anticipate there may be more research examining the strengthening of the bodies inner defenses still to come,” she concludes.

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Beneo GmbH

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Beneo offers naturally-sourced, functional ingredients derived from the chicory root, sugar beet, rice, and wheat, adding nutritional, technical and health benefits.

Our portfolio offers an opportunity to create all-natural, non-GMO or organic products that are non-cariogenic, gluten and lactose-free, fiber-enriched, fat and sugar reduced, easily digested, energy sustaining and calorie smart, as well as supportive of fat oxidation – all without compromising taste, texture or mouthfeel. Our ingredients can be used in applications like dairy, confectionery, bakery, cereals, soups & sauces, meat & vegetables, baby food, and beverages.

Formed by a merger of the companies Orafti, Palatinit and Remy in 2007, Beneo is a 100 percent subsidiary of the Südzucker Group and has over 100 years experience with functional ingredients.

Through a unique chain of expertise, including Beneo-Institute and Beneo-Technology Center, the company supports customers throughout the entire product development process: ranging from new product ideas and concept development based on consumer insights and market research to nutritional science by providing regulatory advice and facilitating the formulation of successful products.

 

Functional fibres: Orafti® inulin and oligofructose are prebiotic fibers extracted from the chicory root. These fibers do not only promote optimal intestinal functioning but also act as prebiotics that promotes the growth of ‘good’ bacteria (Inulin: EFSA claim on prebiotic wellbeing available). Both ingredients allow for an EFSA claim on blood sugar management as they support a lower rise in blood glucose levels and a lower insulin response.  

Functional carbohydrates: Palatinose™ or isomaltulose is a low-glycaemic and fully-digestible carbohydrate derived from the chicory root. What is special in comparison to other carbohydrates is that it releases its full carbohydrate energy (4kcal/g) more slowly and in a more balanced way (EFSA claim available). It improves fat oxidation during physical activity, leading to a sustained energy supply. Being acid stable, the food maintains its osmolality – an advantage, especially in sports beverages. In addition, it is a non-cariogenic ingredient.

Functional protein: Beneo’s Vital Wheat Gluten is a source of essential amino acids which the body cannot produce itself. Apart from their nutritious benefits, they improve the taste and texture of bakery goods, ready-to-eat meals, meat-based products, etc. Consequently, the sustainable sources of BeneoPro VWG have been allocated the IFS label, an acknowledged reference for high-quality ingredients.

Specialty rice ingredients: Beneo’s natural and organic rice ingredients include flours, starches, bran, syrups, proteins and concentrates. They help you respond to the growing demand for clean label, organic, gluten-free and hypoallergenic products. In addition, they improve mouthfeel, texture, crispness, crunchiness, shelf-life, and color of products.

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