Inulin is high in fiber and low in calories. It also 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 low 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:
reduces cholesterol absorption 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 some of 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)
stimulate your immune system
Inulin also adds bulk to your stool and increases the frequency of your bowel movements. You may have more bowel movements, but inulin slows overall digestion. This enables your body to better absorb nutrients from the food you eat.
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 studyTrusted Source revealed that inulin might benefit people with prediabetes. It can act as a potential blood sugar 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 colon cancer risk
Studies show that a high intake of dietary fiber, like inulin, is associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Researchers are actively exploring the use of inulin to prevent cancer.
As an immune system booster, it may also be a good preventive supplement against cancers of the digestive system. More studies are needed before any strong claims can be made about the effects of inulin on colon cancer.
Supplemental inulin is available in capsule and powder forms. A typical dose is 3.1 grams per day. You may prefer to get your inulin by eating foods it naturally occurs in.
Consider using inulin supplements to further promote digestive health if you’re on a probiotic regimen or currently using antibiotics to treat a bacterial illness.
A 2015 study tested the powder form of inulin to determine whether it contributed to feelings of health and well-being. People who took the inulin were happier, less hungry, and felt fuller over a period of time than people who received a placebo.
inulin properties health benefits and food applications
Inulin is a water soluble storage polysaccharide and belongs to a group of non-digestible carbohydrates called fructans. Inulin has attained the GRAS status in USA and is extensively available in about 36,000 species of plants, amongst, chicory roots are considered as the richest source of inulin. Commonly, inulin is used as a prebiotic, fat replacer, sugar replacer, texture modifier and for the development of functional foods in order to improve health due to its beneficial role in gastric health. This review provides a deep insight about its production, physicochemical properties, role in combating various kinds of metabolic and diet related diseases and utilization as a functional ingredient in novel product development.
agave inulin health benefits
Agave Inulin Powder can help lower visceral fat, which has been associated with increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It also supports digestive health, promotes normal bowel function and stimulates healthy bacteria. The powder does not have a taste and can be added to any foods to increase fiber intake. Agave Inulin Powder comes from the same place that liquid agave does; the plant native to Mexico and is the same place that premium blue agave tequila comes from!
inulin chicory root health benefits
1. Packed with the prebiotic fiber inulin
Fresh chicory root is composed of 68% inulin by dry weight (1Trusted Source).
Inulin is a type of fiber known as a fructan or fructooligosaccharide, a carbohydrate made from a short chain of fructose molecules that your body doesn’t digest.
It acts as a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. These helpful bacteria play a role in reducing inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria, and improving mineral absorption (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Thus, chicory root fiber may promote optimal gut health in a variety of ways.
Chicory root is primarily composed of inulin, a prebiotic that encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
2. May aid bowel movements
Since the inulin in chicory root fiber passes through your body undigested and feeds your gut bacteria, it may promote healthy digestion.
In particular, studies suggest that inulin can relieve constipation (6Trusted Source, 7).
A 4-week study in 44 adults with constipation found that taking 12 grams of chicory inulin per day helped soften stool and significantly increased bowel movement frequency, compared with taking a placebo (6Trusted Source).
In a study in 16 people with low stool frequency, taking a daily dose of 10 grams of chicory inulin increased the number of bowel movements from 4 to 5 per week, on average (7).
Keep in mind that most studies have focused on chicory inulin supplements, so more research is needed on its fiber as an additive.
Due to its inulin content, chicory root fiber may help relieve constipation and increase stool frequency.
3. May improve blood sugar control
Chicory root fiber may boost blood sugar control, especially in people with diabetes.
This may be due to its inulin, which promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria involved in carbohydrate metabolism — which breaks down carbs into sugars — and sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that helps absorb sugar from the blood (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Chicory root fiber likewise contains compounds like chicoric and chlorogenic acids, which have been shown to increase muscle sensitivity to insulin in rodent studies (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
A 2-month study in 49 women with type 2 diabetes found that taking 10 grams of inulin per day led to significant decreases in blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c, a measurement of average blood sugar, compared with taking a placebo (13Trusted Source).
Notably, the inulin used in this study is known as high-performance inulin and often added to baked goods and drinks as a sugar substitute. It has a slightly different chemical composition than other types of inulin (13Trusted Source).
Thus, more research is needed on chicory root fiber in particular.
Inulin and other compounds in chicory root may help improve blood sugar control, especially in people with diabetes.
4. May support weight loss
Some studies suggest that chicory root fiber may regulate appetite and decrease overall calorie intake, possibly leading to weight loss.
A 12-week study in 48 adults with excess weight determined that taking 21 grams per day of chicory-derived oligofructose, which is very similar to inulin, led to a significant, 2.2-pound (1-kg) average reduction in body weight — while the placebo group gained weight (14Trusted Source).
This study also found that oligofructose helped decrease levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger (14Trusted Source).
Other research has yielded similar results but mostly tested inulin or oligofructose supplements — not chicory root fiber (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
Chicory root fiber may aid weight loss by reducing appetite and curbing calorie intake, though more studies are necessary.
5. Easy to add to your diet
Chicory root fiber is easy to add to your diet. In fact, you may already be consuming it without realizing it, as it’s sometimes used as an additive in packaged foods.
It’s increasingly common to see chicory root processed for its inulin, which is used to increase fiber content or serve as a sugar or fat substitute due to its gelling properties and slightly sweet flavor, respectively (17Trusted Source).
That said, it can be used in home cooking as well. Some specialty shops and grocery stores carry the whole root, which is often boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
What’s more, if you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake, you can use roasted and ground chicory root as a coffee replacement. To make this rich beverage, add 2 tablespoons (11 grams) of ground chicory root for every 1 cup (240 ml) of water in your coffeemaker.
Finally, inulin from chicory root can be extracted and made into supplements that are widely available online or at health stores.
Whole chicory root can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable, whereas ground chicory is often brewed with water to make a coffee-like drink. As a rich source of inulin, it can likewise be found in packaged foods and supplements.
inulin and oligofructose health benefits
Health benefits ascribed to Bifidobac- teria include the following: inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, stimulating of components of the immune system and aiding the absorption of certain ions and the synthesis of B vitamins. The bifidogenic effect of inulin and oligofructose has been well proven (Bouhnik et al.
inulin weight loss
Several studies indicate that inulin can also help with weight loss.
In one weight loss study, people with prediabetes took inulin or another fiber called cellulose for 18 weeks. Those taking inulin lost significantly more weight between 9 and 18 weeks.
However, some studies of children with overweight or obesity have not found that oligofructose or inulin reduce calorie intake.
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