A growing body of research demonstrates the importance of the gut microbiome in supporting good health. This is particularly relevant for infants, because the first 1,000 days of life are when the gut microbial population is established. Critically, disruption to the microbiome and reduced microbial diversity can affect the cognitive and behavioural development of children, potentially contributing to poorer health in later life.
This is why we love quinoa at Little Inca: it has prebiotic functionality, and it’s been shown to support the gut microbiome. We use it in our entire range to provide the ultimate nutrition for your little one. At 6 months, the gut continues to grow and at Little Inca, our mission is to provide babies with a well-balanced rainbow of quinoa-based foods to diversify and nurture the healthiest gut possible.
This is supported by recent scientific research findings from Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, which show that dietary fibre, and specifically quinoa grains, are beneficial for the human digestive system.
Quinoa is an ancient food from South America and it was a sacred food to the Incas, who called it the Mother of all Grains. A traditional cereal, quinoa has also been recognised as a functional and nutraceutical food due to its nutritional and medicinal value, and its bioactive components. It has even been shown to help prevent different diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
There is around 10% dietary fibre in quinoa (Lamothe et al., 2015), which is higher than that in rice, corn, and wheat (0.4%, 1.7%, and 2.7% respectively) (Alvarez-Jubete et al., 2010). In addition, the indigestibility of dietary fibers in the small intestine offers several beneficial effects, such as facilitating the absorption of other nutrients at the level of the large intestine. Quinoa grains offer a vast variety of health benefits, and that’s why we use them as a key ingredient in all our Little Inca formulas.
Improved diet is an affordable strategy in the treatment of intestinal disorders, and prebiotic foods are widely used to prevent or control their regulation. Researchers in the aforementioned study found that quinoa possesses potential prebiotic effects indicating its value as a valid and effective dietary treatment for poor intestinal health.
The Beijing study evaluated the prebiotic effect of quinoa grains after human simulated digestion. One of many interesting results was that the digestibility of the cooked and uncooked quinoa was 69.04% and 64.09%, respectively. This also shows us that quinoa substrates enhance the growth of certain beneficial bacteria, such as Prevotella and Bacteroides, and that quinoa grains have prebiotic potential due to their association with positive shifts in microbiota composition.
These findings shed light on the prebiotic properties of quinoa and could help to design food based on quinoa in the future.
Whole grains and dietary fibre play an important role in human health, as they can promote a healthy gut microbiota, and new research suggests that quinoa grains can induce the growth and activity of beneficial gut microbes. Quinoa consumption also appears to inhibit microbiota imbalances and alleviate symptoms of colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon.
Furthermore, the fermentation of quinoa polysaccharides has been shown to promote the growth of bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Collinsella. Bifidobacterium can contribute to the reduction of disorders such as type I diabetes and colorectal cancer, and Collinsella has been associated with reduced severity and incidence of several conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease.
“Quinoa polysaccharides could be considered prebiotic due to their ability to increase Bifidobacterium and Collinsella,” the researchers say.
Here at Little Inca, quinoa is a key ingredient in all our formulas, and parents can feel confident that we always are looking for science-based ingredients to enable healthy development for their little ones.
Source: Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, Beijing Technology & Business University, Beijing, China