Tests on human volunteers have "clearly" demonstrated that select foods, known as prebiotics, can encourage the survival of friendly bacteria - and discourage toxic organisms, the British Association Festival of Science was told yesterday.
Volunteers tested a range of foods, including new prebiotic food supplements, which contain high concentrations of substances such as fructo-oligosaccharides. These are found in chicory root, and also in onion, garlic, bananas, asparagus, artichokes and leeks.
Professor Glenn Gibson, Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Reading, UK, told how his research team used genetic technology to track the growth of microbes in the gut. The technology, he said, was "unequivocal."
He said fructo-oligosaccharides stimulate Bifidobacteria in the lower gut. His research had shown that some species of these bacteria could counteract harmful organisms, including strains of E. coli 0157.
Prebiotics, he said, could be more effective than probiotics - the custom of consuming beneficial bacteria through foods such as yoghurt.
Prebiotics are foods that encourage the survival of friendly gut bacteria.
"Significant effort is being expended on cleaning-up the food chain and this makes sense," Professor Gibson told the conference at Imperial College, London, UK.
"However, organisms causing infection have their effects after leaving the fork or plate - that is, in the bowel. It may be that the real way to reduce the burden of food poisoning is to fortify correct components of the intestinal flora, such that it is much more resistant to invasion. This is clearly achievable through the use of prebiotics."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com