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Digestive Health: Balancing the Gut Microbiota

<p>Current knowledge shows that sophisticated modulation of gut microflora using probiotics, prebiotics, natural substances and functional foods could effectively decrease the measure of health risks.</p>

Gut microbiota play a very important role in health maintenance and disease prevention.  Current knowledge shows that sophisticated modulation of gut microflora using probiotics, prebiotics, natural substances and functional foods could effectively decrease the measure of health risks. Greater understanding of the communities of microorganisms residing within the human gut and the role of dysbiosis in various disease states will certainly result in targeted modulation of gut microbiota. Methods and approaches in this area are in constant development. Hence it is a realistic vision that in the coming decade, a number of diseases both within and outside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may be treated with designed microbiota.

However, due to the regulatory landscape for marketing health products in Europe, the vocabulary has necessarily shifted from using the term “probiotic" to “happy tummy." In addition, some major European dairy industry players have further moved toward positioning fiber from oats, seeds or other cereals as sources for digestive health.

Fiber has been linked to different health benefits, including digestive health, but also satiety. Most new product launches are simply featuring a “good source of fiber" claim. In this context, there is an overarching theme of promoting so-called good carbs as “natural sources of fiber," with oats being marketed as both a source of fiber and beta-glucan.

In addition to containing fiber, whole grains have been shown to have positive health benefits. There is strong and convincing evidence from observational studies that shows those who consume whole grain regularly in their diet have a reduced risk of developing chronic health issues. Eating more whole grains is associated with improved gut health, lower weight gain over time and lower all-cause mortality.

The nutritional benefit of whole grains is that they naturally contain higher levels of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and bioactive phytochemicals compared with refined white flours. This not only improves the nutritional profile of whole-grain foods, but specifically contributes to the overall healthiness of diets based around their consumption.

Constipation is one of the leading bowel conditions—resulting in a substantial impact on health-related quality of life and health care costs.

In a study about gut health, evidence provided suggests consumption of the natural mineral water Donat Mg could be a good option for maintenance of normal bowel function, and may be readily integrated in daily dietary habits.

For more information, download the Vitafoods Insights Report “Digestive Health: Balancing the Gut Microbiota."

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