Inulin is a water-soluble plant fiber that works as a prebiotic in the human gut. As it cannot be digested, it serves a breeding ground for good bacteria to grow. This, in turn, boosts overall gut health in humans. It’s majorly concentrated in the chicory plant followed by artichokes, agave, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, wheat, onions and wild yams. Following are the 6 health benefits of inulin
1. Improves Your Gut Health
Inulin has the ability to absorb water and swell up. This helps in slowing digestion and enhance absorption while making you feel full for longer periods. It also promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria, particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli that prevent infections of gastrointestinal nature.1
The ability of inulin to promote the growth of good bacteria is the reason why it has been scientifically proven to lower the risk of colon cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases and leaky gut.2
2. Regulates Your Blood Sugar Levels
Inulin is also a popular alternative sweetener with low glycemic index. As it takes time to get broken down, it’s just right for diabetics who wouldn’t want any spikes in blood sugar levels. Having inulin-rich foods is advised to non-diabetics who are keen on maintaining their blood sugar levels within moderation.3
3. Strengthens Your Immunity
Being prebiotic, it can boost the growth of good gut flora. The presence of healthy bacteria in your body can protect you against acute infections and can even lower the of cancer.
4. Increases Your Skeletal Mass
Inulin aids in increasing the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium which your skeletal system loves. Several studies have proven that chicory inulin intake among growing girls and post-menopausal women raised the absorption of calcium. This led to higher bone mineralization and reduced bone loss thereby preventing the risk of osteoporosis.4
5. Lowers Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Inulin like almost every dietary fiber remains undigested and is eliminated via feces. It takes many toxic byproducts and bad cholesterol particles along with it during excretion. Researchers claim that a diet high in fibers like inulin can be useful for individuals who are prone to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.5
6. Is A Healthier Alternative For Refined Sugar
Many people who advocate a diet free from refined sugar have found that insulin is one of the safest artificial sweeteners available today. It can be used as an ingredient to add bulk to recipes instead of refined flour. It can also be added to sweeten your favorite beverage or pancakes or fruit salad or dressings.
You can derive inulin from its natural sources or in its supplemental form. You shouldn’t consume more than 3 grams in a day. If you are advised to take inulin for your gut health, make sure to drink lots of water to prevent chances of indigestion.6
If you are allergic to FODMAP you should refrain from having inulin in your diet to avoid any digestive trouble as it can cause bloating and flatulence on digestion of inulin. Consult a doctor or a nutritionist before you start inulin supplementation as too much, too soon can turn out to be unsafe for you.
|↑1||Marteau, Philippe, Heidi Jacobs, Murielle Cazaubiel, Cathy Signoret, Jean-Michel Prevel, and Beatrice Housez. “Effects of chicory inulin in constipated elderly people: a double-blind controlled trial.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition 62, no. 2 (2011): 164-170.|
|↑2||Roberfroid, Marcel B. “Inulin-type fructans: functional food ingredients.” The Journal of nutrition 137, no. 11 (2007): 2493S-2502S.|
|↑3||Guess, Nicola D., Anne Dornhorst, Nick Oliver, and Gary S. Frost. “A Randomised Crossover Trial: The Effect of Inulin on Glucose Homeostasis in Subtypes of Prediabetes.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 68, no. 1 (2016): 26-34.|
|↑4||Abrams, Steven A., Keli M. Hawthorne, Oluseyi Aliu, Penni D. Hicks, Zhensheng Chen, and Ian J. Griffin. “An inulin-type fructan enhances calcium absorption primarily via an effect on colonic absorption in humans.” The Journal of nutrition 137, no. 10 (2007): 2208-2212.|
|↑5||Moreno Franco, Belén, Montserrat León Latre, Eva María Andrés Esteban, José María Ordovás, José Antonio Casasnovas, and José Luis Peñalvo. “Soluble and insoluble dietary fibre intake and risk factors for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in middle-aged adults: the AWHS cohort.” Nutricion hospitalaria 30, no. 6 (2014).|
|↑6||Niness, Kathy R. “Inulin and oligofructose: what are they?.” The Journal of nutrition 129, no. 7 (1999): 1402S-1406s.|