By Lauren Birtwhistle |
We all know the importance of fiber in our diets. With so many different kinds, it is sometimes difficult to know what fiber is and where exactly you can find it. This month, we want to inform you of a great source of fiber; inulins.
Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides. They are produced by many plants; usually in the root or rhizomes. This great ingredient can be used in place of sugar, fat and flour. It is particularly advantageous because inulin contains a third to a quarter of the food energy of sugar or other carbohydrates and a 1/6th–1/9th of the food energy of fat.
Inulin is a specific type of dietary fiber that is naturally found in many common foods such as leeks, artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, bananas, wheat, rye, and chicory root. Inulin has many benefits to your health. With so many varieties of fiber, it is important to know what can help your body the most. Here are a few ways your body can benefit from inulin:
• Promotes healthy intestinal bacteria. Inulin is a prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics. In this way, inulin is part of a chain of bacteria that may keep your gut healthy and alleviate digestive problems.
• Improves digestive functions. Like other fibers, inulin helps digestion, prevents constipation, and keeps you regular.
• Helps manage diabetes. Because inulin is not digested, it does not affect glucose levels. This makes it an appropriate food for diabetics and is not counted as carbohydrate intake.
• Improves bone health. Preliminary studies suggest that adding inulin to calcium-rich foods like yogurt may boost calcium absorption. This is good news for your bones!