Health Benefits of Inulin
Inulin is a soluble dietary fibre. It is a naturally occurring oligosaccharide(several simple sugars linked together) belonging to a group ofcarbohydrates known as fructans.
Unlike most carbohydrates, inulin is non-digestible. This allows it to pass through the small intestine and ferment in the large intestine. Through the fermentation process,
the inulin becomes healthy intestinal micro flora (bifidobacterium).
Natural Sources of Inulin
Inulin is naturally present in many different foods. Some every day foods, such as asparagus, leek, onions, banana, wheat and garlic are sources of inulin. Higher
concentrations exist in herbs. Dandelion root, elecampane root and chicory root all have large amounts of inulin.
Chicory root is the most common source of inulin due to its extremely high concentration as well as its similarities to the sugar beet.
The methods used for the extraction of inulin from the chicory root are comparable to the extraction of sucrose from the sugar beet.
Benefits of Inulin
Inulin is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in fiber, low in calories, and has other health benefits.
It keeps you full (of fiber).
Fiber is any type of carbohydrate the body can’t digest. It moves through the intestines intact and continues into the colon to serve as a food for the bacteria there.
Fiber has no caloric value, but it’s essential to good health.
The fiber in inulin is soluble, which means it dissolves in water. It dissolves in the stomach and then forms a gelatinous substance that:
removes cholesterol as it passes through the digestive tract
Due to consumption habits varying between factors such as age, gender and locale, it is difficult to pinpoint the average inulin intake.
For American adults, the intake is estimated at approximately 10-15g per day. Current recommendations for dietary fibre for American adults is 20 - 35 g per day.
The daily value used in the Nutrition Facts table is 25g. Current recommendations for dietary fibre for Canadian females is 21 -25 g per day, and for Canadian males is 30 - 38 g per day.
The daily value used in the Canadian Nutrition Facts table is also 25g. Meaning, most adultsdietary fibre consumption lies well below the daily requirements.
By converting to functional foods containing inulin, this deficiency can be eliminated without the need to give up common household favourite foods such as bread, cereal, and baked goods.
If you’re pregnant, you should talk to your doctor before taking any supplemental product, including inulin.