Inulin is a type of fiber that's found in certain plant foods. Chicory root is the main source of inulin in supplement form.
Chicory was originally found in Europe and Asia. Egyptians grew it thousands of years ago as a medicine. It's now grown in the U.S.
Your small intestine does not absorb inulin. When it reaches your large intestine (colon), bacteria ferment it.
Why do people take inulin?
People often use inulin to try to treat or prevent digestive problems.
Decrease constipation. In one study, older people with constipation who took 20 to 40 grams of inulin daily for a month had less trouble with constipation.
Increase helpful bacteria in the colon. Because it has this effect, inulin is called a prebiotic. Prebiotics may have numerous health benefits. They may:
Help increase the amount of calcium and other minerals you absorb from food
Support a healthy immune system
Relieve intestinal problems
Inulin may also lower levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat.
Suggested dosages vary by supplement maker. Optimal doses of inulin have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it hard to set a standard dose.
Can you get inulin naturally from foods?
Many foods -- and plants that are less commonly eaten -- contain inulin. These include:
Chicory, which is used in salads
Inulin is found in some processed foods as a replacement for fat, such as:
When combined with water in a precise way, it can mimic the texture of fat in these foods.
Inulin is a type of fiber that has many beneficial properties. Eating a diet rich in inulin through food and supplementation may help to improve weight, cholesterol, and gut health.
To start, begin by adding more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, to your diet. Doing so can increase your nutrition profile and reduce the risk of adding extra sugar and sodium that foods enhanced with inulin may have.
If you are looking to add inulin in capsule, gummy, or powder form consult with your physician before doing so. Think about your overall fiber intake and how much inulin you need to meet your recommended fiber needs.
One of the most prevalent fiber-boosting ingredients is inulin. Like any fiber, it can cause gas, bloating and abdominal pain if consumed too quickly or in large quantities. Many of my clients who have complained about digestive discomfort don’t realize how much inulin powder they’re consuming each day. Most of them have never even heard of it.
Inulin is a type of prebiotic, a substance that’s used by the microorganisms in your digestive tract and positively influences health. At this point, there is evidence that three prebiotics can provide health benefits: inulin, also referred to as long-chain inulin; fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a short-chain inulin that’s also called oligofructose, and galactooligosaccharide (GOS).
Both inulin and FOS are extracted from chicory root fiber, a natural dietary fiber that is extracted using hot water from a plant that’s part of the dandelion family. GOS is produced from lactose, which is sourced from animals. It also isn’t as well-studied as the other two.
Bananas contain 0.5 g per 100 g each of inulin and oligofructose. For vegetables, chicory root is the best source of these components, providing 42 g of inulin and 23 g of oligofructose per 100 g. Raw dandelion greens, dried garlic, Jerusalem artichoke and dried onions have the next highest amounts ranging from 13 to 28 g per 100 g of inulin and 11 to 13 g per 100 g of oligofructose. For cereal grains, wheat is the best source, providing ∼2.5 g/100 g of each component in raw bran and baked flour.
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