Promoting healthy ageing by fortifying immune health with Prebiotic Chicory Root Fibres

Written by Christian Philippsen, managing director, BENEO, Asia Pacific. 

Maintaining a strong defence is key for a resilient and healthy body. According to a FMCG Gurus survey, Australians have the highest inclination towards immunity improvement, reaching 73 per cent among the average Active Nutrition consumer (compared to an Asian Pacific average of 65 per cent).[1]

Nurturing our inner defence is crucial, as during the course of one’s lifetime, the immune system ages and becomes weaker. An increased risk of mortality that is related to infections and a reduced vaccination response in the elderly can be the consequences. This decline in immunity is further compounded by the projected doubling of individuals aged 60 years or older residing in the Asia Pacific to 1.3 billion by 2050.[2]. Such trends pose major implications for both governments and consumers, underscoring the need for proactive measures to ensure the well-being of ageing populations.

One such proactive measure lies in dietary choices. Consumers are increasingly recognising the impact of nutrition on their immune system. With 70% of the inner defence system being housed in the gut, prioritising food that fosters a healthy gut microbiome can provide comprehensive support to immune health.[3]

A viable approach to support a healthy gut microbiota, fortify the gut against pathogens, and strengthen the gut’s barrier function is the intake of chicory root fibres known as inulin and oligofructose. [4]

Prebiotics serve as nourishment for the beneficial microbes residing in our gut. Among prebiotics, chicory root fibres, in particular, have the strongest scientific substantiation demonstrating the support of the selective growth of bifidobacteria and related health benefits. Inulin and oligofructose belong to the very few proven prebiotics as stated by international experts in the field, such as the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) and is the only plant-based one. In addition, the Chinese Nutrition Society in China recognise inulin and oligofructose as one of the few selected scientifically proven prebiotics that are the most well-researched. BENEO’s Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose offer many health benefits, including regulation of blood sugar levels[5], facilitation of weight management[6][7], and enhancement of calcium absorption for bone health.[8][9]

Furthermore, they possess technical advantages as they are soluble dietary fibres that can be easily added to recipe formulations without major changes to the production process and do not add an unwanted aftertaste to the end product.

With healthy ageing taking centre stage, along with the natural decline in immune function over time, prebiotics such as chicory root fibres emerge as a valuable way for food manufacturers to fulfil the health and taste preferences of consumers, enabling longer, healthier lives.

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