Oligosaccharides, what are they and what benefits do they have for children

Oligosaccharides, what are they and what benefits do they have for children

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Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the cells of the body and are essential for the daily activity of the body, above all, they are directly food for the brain, and fuel for the muscles, of great importance in childhood, because growth and learning are priorities.

In addition, they are, together with proteins, the macronutrients that provide the least calories, compared to fats that provide 9 kcal per gram. One of the types of carbohydrates that have the most benefits for children are oligosaccharides, we will tell you what they are and why they are good.

There are different types of carbohydrates depending on their molecular composition:

- Monosaccharides, with a single sugar molecule, such as glucose, galactose and fructose

- Oligosaccharides, formed by several monosaccharides. Among the oligosaccharides, disaccharides such as sucrose, maltose and lactose stand out, which contain two sugar molecules.

- Polysaccharides, which are formed thanks to the union of many sugar molecules.

Oligosaccharides are found in many vegetables, such as leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic or artichokes and fruits such as tomatoes or bananas, to give a few examples, as well as in cereals such as wheat, especially whole wheat. Oligosaccharides, what benefits do they have for children?

Complex carbohydrates, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, have advantages over simple carbohydrates:

1. They provide fiber, whose consumption has been associated with:

- The reduction of risk factors for some types of cancer

- At a lower risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

- Regulates intestinal motility ensuring good digestion and preventing constipation.

2. A variety of oligosaccharides are called fructo-oligosaccharides (also known as oligofructose), natural compounds that contain fructose and soluble fiber. These oligosaccharides have the peculiarity of being considered prebiotics, whose most striking property is that serve as food for bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract, thus favoring growth and natural selection within this ecosystem - normally made up of bifidobacteria and / or lactic acid bacteria.

3. A good state of the bacterial ecosystem promotes benefits in the health of children, thanks to the competition they generate against any invading microorganism. They create a hostile environment for pathogenic bacteria that could reach the intestine, thus increasing protection against infections.

However, the fermentation of oligosaccharides also produces gas, which can become a disadvantage when its consumption is high, since it causes discomfort, especially in the little ones.

You can read more articles similar to Oligosaccharides, what are they and what benefits do they have for children, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.

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