Plants naturally produce inulin and use it as an energy source. Today, it’s being added to more and more food products because of its benefits and adaptability. Find out more below:

  1. Inulin is a nutritional component that occurs naturally in many plants.
  2. Bananas, garlic, and wheat are some common foods that contain inulin.
  3. Inulin is full of fiber and low in calories.

Sources of Inulin

Inulin can be found naturally in foods, such as:

  • chicory root
  • artichokes
  • agave
  • asparagus
  • bananas
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • wheat
  • onions
  • wild yams

It keeps you full (of fibre).

Fibre 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. Fibre has no caloric value, but it’s essential to good health.

The fibre in inulin is soluble, which means it dissolves in water. It dissolves in the stomach and then forms a gelatinous substance that:

  • slows digestion
  • increases fullness
  • removes cholesterol as it passes through the digestive tract

It promotes digestive health.

Your gut contains between 15,000 and 36,000 species of bacteria. Only a small portion of the bacteria in the body has the potential to be harmful. Good bacteria provide many health benefits. Inulin stimulates these bacteria to grow.

Inulin aids digestion by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut, particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria help:

  • fend off unwanted pathogens (bad bacteria)
  • prevent infection
  • stimulate your immune system

It controls blood sugar.

Inulin slows digestion, including the digestion of carbohydrates. This allows sugar to be released slowly without spiking, which promotes healthy blood sugar levels.

A 2015 study revealed that inulin might benefit people with prediabetes. It can act as a potential blood-stabilizer when present in your diet over a long period of time.

Some research suggests these properties make inulin a good weight management aid.

It could potentially lower your cancer risk.

Researchers are actively exploring the use of inulin to prevent cancer.

As an immune system booster, it may also be a good preventative supplement against cancers of the digestive system. One study found the combination of probiotics and prebiotics such as inulin has the potential to reduce colon cancer risk.

Article originally from Healthline. 

Find out more about Kefir and its effect on gut health on the BBC2 programme, ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’