Five tips on digestive health

Your immunity may not be as strong as you think
These days, catching a cold can sometimes be unavoidable. And we all need to work harder to make sure we’re staying ahead of the curve and self-isolating when appropriate. With the Winter season upon us, we often turn to antibiotics when things get worse. But a little known fact is that antibiotics wipe out all bacteria, including the good ones known as probiotics, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

Probiotics are known to help and there are well over 400 probiotic strains in our bodies. Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many are actually helpful – particularly when it comes to digesting food, destroying disease-causing cells, or producing vitamins.

“Staying healthy during COVID-19 is so important and there are often little things you could do proactively to look after your gut health and help give your immune system a lift,” said Meluka Australia CEO Ben Rohr.

“If you’ve recently taken antibiotics, it’s important to make sure you get your gut health back to shape, and probiotics can be the answer.”

Enzymes do all the heavy lifting
When it comes down to it, enzymes play an incredibly important role in keeping you safe and healthy. They are located in your digestive system and are what separate food into the different nutrients that your body needs.

“Most Aussies underestimate the pivotal role that enzymes play in preserving our gut health. When you are first born, you don’t have any of the healthy bacteria your system needs to digest food,” said Rohr.

“As we get older, our enzymes weaken, the muscles in the digestive tract become stiffer, and it makes it harder for the body to keep storing healthy bacteria. But not all bacteria is bad for you, particularly when it comes to maintaining a healthy and balanced gut microbiome.”

Antioxidant food and drinks are the way to go
Foods like honey, nuts, seeds and berries contain a type of antioxidant called polyphenols, which act as a fuel for microbes that help with digestion. You’ve probably heard of antioxidants before, but they are essentially substances that help slow down or prevent damage to cells caused by oxidation.

Avoid dodgy additives
We’ve all been warned for decades about the dangers of additives like artificial sweeteners, but you may not know why. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame (found in soft drinks) and sucralose (sugar substitute) can disrupt metabolism, reduce gut diversity and can often lead to problems later in life such as diabetes.

“It’s also wise to avoid processed foods where possible, and consume a range of different food types instead,” said Rohr. “Food and vitamin supplements are often not what they’re cracked up to be either, as only a small portion of these are beneficial.”

Go to the countryside and spend more time with man’s best friend
Some studies claim that pet owners have a more diverse microbiome, while those living in rural areas were also shown to have more microbial diversity. Studies have also shown that small quantities of alcohol can increase microbe diversity, but with all vices, it’s important not to indulge too much, as large quantities of alcohol can be harmful to your gut health.


Scientists honoured for research on gut microbiome and lactic acid bacteria

Two leading scientists in the fields of human microbiota and lactic acid bacterial metabolism and genetics have been selected for the 2019 Danisco Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award.

The Danisco Foundation has awarded the 2019 Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award. The awardees are leading scientists in their fields recognised by the Danisco Foundation for scientific excellence and a remarkable record of achievement in advancing science and technology relevant to the future of food, nutrition and health.

This year’s medalists are:

Danisco Microbiome Science Award:
Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of TwinsUK at King’s College, London – selected for his outstanding work over the last 30 years since founding TwinsUK, the UK twins registry, which is the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information on a cohort worldwide. Professor Spector’s research in recent years has focused on the microbiome and its relationship with health, leading to the world’s largest personalized nutrition study of its kind. The nomination recognizes Professor Spector as an international pioneer and leader in the microbiome field.

Danisco Science Excellence Medal:
Pascal Hols, Professor of Microbiology at the Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium – selected for his fundamental and applied research on genetics and metabolism of lactic acid bacteria. His research encompasses carbon metabolism, cell wall biosynthesis and metabolic adaptation to environmental factors, for which a multidisciplinary range of genomics/post-genomics, biochemical, and biophysical approaches have been used.

The medalists received their awards during a ceremony held yesterday at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ Campus in Brabrand, Denmark. During the ceremony, each recipient presented their research to scientists and leaders of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“The contributions that Professor Pascal Hols and Professor Tim Spector have made to enhance our understanding of lactic acid bacterial genetics and metabolism and the microbiome, respectively, are among the finest examples of scientific advancements in the fields of health, food and nutrition. We are honored to recognize their outstanding scientific accomplishments with the Danisco Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award,” said Angela Naef, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ global leader for technology and innovation and Danisco Foundation board member.

The original awards were founded in 2002 by the Danisco Foundation to help improve food products, notably industrially produced foods. With time and technological advancements, the scope of the awards has expanded to food, nutrition and health. The Danisco Foundation itself was established in 1981 and provides funding and grants to support predominantly food science and research.

Digestive wellness on the rise among consumers

Ever since digestive health was dubbed a ‘mega-trend’ back in 2010, gut-health has been growing its influence in the scientific, nutrition and consumer arenas. Today, consumers are increasingly paying attention to their digestive health,. As understanding of digestive health grows, consumers are now recognising the wider benefits a healthy gut can have on their overall state of wellbeing.

Research shows that 63 per cent of consumers recognise that digestive health plays an extremely important role in their physical health and 57% in relation to their mood. As a result, feeling good is now the main driver for consumers wanting to improve their digestive health with 1 out of 3 consumers doing so to either feel more active or more relaxed. These findings illustrate how consumer mindsets are changing, with many having a much greater understanding of the wider benefits associated with digestive wellness.

The prebiotic effect
The role of the colon goes far beyond digestive health. This means that the influence of fermentable fibres, in particular ones that lead to a prebiotic fermentation pattern and positively support the microbiota, reach out to other parts of the body and influence hunger-satiety (energy intake), mood and much more.

BENEO’s inulin and oligofructose, are natural, non-GMO, clean label and clinically proven plant-based prebiotic fibres that are derived from chicory root via a gentle hot water extraction method, unlike some other fibres that are artificially or chemically made. They are the preferred nutrients for beneficial gut bacteria and therefore encourage positive modulation of the microbiota composition to take place. This in turn improves digestive health and inner wellbeing by supporting normal bowel regularity and a healthy gut microbiota by increasing beneficial bacteria. There is a comprehensive body of high-quality scientific studies (in excess of 150) available covering several of these aspects that confirm the health benefits of BENEO’s chicory root fibres. As well as a wealth of scientific studies, BENEO also has an exclusive EU health claim for its inulin in promoting digestive health.

Putting it into practice
There is clearly an appetite for products that promote good digestive health amongst consumers. Ingredients providers, such as BENEO, are creating very real ways for manufacturers to make the most of this trend. The wide range of drinkable and edible product ideas available from the BENEO-Technology Center, which incorporate prebiotic chicory root fibres for added health benefits, provide a wealth of opportunity for manufacturers which are looking to innovate