Promote healthy aging by boosting immune health with prebiotic chicory root fiber

Written by Christian Philippsen, Managing Director, BENEO, Asia Pacific.

Maintaining strong defenses is the key to a resilient and healthy body. According to an FMCG Gurus survey, Australians have the highest propensity to improve immunity, reaching 73 percent among the average active food consumer (compared to an average of 65 percent in the Asia Pacific).(1)

Nurturing our inner defenses is critical because the immune system ages and weakens over the course of a person’s life. The consequences may be an increased risk of mortality due to infections and a reduced vaccination response in the elderly. This decline in immunity is further exacerbated by the projected doubling of the number of people aged 60 or older living in the Asia-Pacific, to 1.3 billion by 2050 (2). Such trends have major implications for both governments and consumers, and underline the need for proactive measures to ensure the well-being of the aging population.

One of those proactive measures concerns nutritional choices. Consumers are increasingly recognizing the impact of nutrition on their immune system. Because 70% of the internal immune system resides in the gut, prioritizing foods that promote a healthy gut microbiome can provide comprehensive support for immune health.(3)

A viable approach to supporting a healthy gut microbiota, strengthening the intestines against pathogens and strengthening the intestinal barrier function is the intake of chicory root fibers, known as inulin and oligofructose. (4)

Prebiotics serve as food for the beneficial microbes that reside in our intestines. Of the prebiotics, chicory root fiber in particular has the strongest scientific support demonstrating support for the selective growth of bifidobacteria and associated health benefits. Inulin and oligofructose are among the few proven prebiotics, as indicated by international experts in the field, such as the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), and are the only plant-based prebiotics. Furthermore, the Chinese Nutrition Society in China recognizes inulin and oligofructose as one of the few selected scientifically proven prebiotics that have been best researched. BENEO’s Orafti® Inulin and oligofructose provide many health benefits, including regulating blood sugar levels (5), facilitating weight management (6)(7) and improving calcium absorption for bone health.(8)(9)

In addition, they have technical advantages because they are soluble dietary fibers that can be easily added to recipe formulations without major changes in the production process and do not add any unwanted aftertaste to the final product.

With healthy aging taking center stage, along with the natural decline of immune function over time, prebiotics such as chicory root fiber are emerging as a valuable way for food manufacturers to meet consumers’ health and taste preferences, allowing for a longer and healthier living becomes possible.