The study revealed the quantity of beneficial bacteria in the guts of test subjects who consumed these products increased and their digestive function normalized. A fiber-rich diet also helps prevent many lifestyle diseases.
According to dietary recommendations, a person in Estonia should consume 25-35g of fiber a day, but actually eats only half of this quantity. The scientists at the Centre of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK) and the dairy industry carried out the study, where they analyzed the impact of fiber-enriched dairy products on human health and wellbeing. This was done by analyzing both blood samples and microbial communities of the gut.
There are as many microbes in the human body as there are cells, and the microbiome – the set of genomes of the microorganisms that live in and on a human being – is the most affected by what we eat. About 70 to 90% of the human immune system is linked to the digestive system.
“The tests revealed that the Hi!Fiber yoghurt, which is enriched with four different fibers, helped normalize digestion and keep the LDL and general cholesterol level of the blood at a normal level, and also supported the growth of good bifidobacteria in the gut,” said researcher at the TFTAK Kaarel Adamberg.
"Dairy products are highly nutritious and contain almost all the nutrients necessary for the normal development of the human body, but they lack fiber because dairy products are of animal origin,” said product innovation manager at Nordic Milk OÜ, Liina Kimmel.
“Dairy fat is an important source of energy and it has a biochemically diverse composition. The proteins found in milk are a source of essential amino acids, as they cannot be produced by the human body itself. Milk is also an important source of vitamins and minerals, which makes it a very good base to enrich with fiber for a versatile, healthy and beneficial food product.”
Based on the results of the study, Nordic Milk developed fiber-enriched dairy products with the Hi!Fiber product range.
Tere AS and AS Farmi Piimatööstus belong to the Estonian dairy group Nordic Milk, whose consolidated share of the Estonian fresh dairy market is 40% and which has a product range of more than 400 different dairy products. The dairy facilities in Jõhvi, Põlva and Viljandi take in more than 500 tonnes of milk daily.
In addition to the local market, products are exported to 25 other countries, and 570 people work in the different units of the group.