What is inulin?
If you’ve been reading up on gut health then you may have heard of inulin. Until recently it was a relatively unknown type of fibre that can help to improve gut, heart and metabolic health. It is an insoluble fibre derived from plants and is a type of fructan, oligofructose carbohydrate which is an effective ingredient for boosting digestion. Our digestive system is unable to break inulin down but it does provide many health benefits for us.
There is estimated to be over 36,000 plants that contain inulin, however chicory root is the most abundant source of inulin supplements. The plant was traditionally found in Europe and Asia but demand has led to it being grown pretty much worldwide.
Many plants contain inulin including bananas, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and asparagus. It is found in the roots of plants and acts to protect them from harsh winter temperatures.
How does inulin work?
Our small intestine is not able absorb inulin fibre, it passes through to the large intestine (colon) where bacteria get to work on the fermentation process.
What are the benefits of inulin?
Associated with the reduction of visceral fat
Interest in inulin shot up when recent studies linked inulin to being able to reduce visceral fat. This is the most dangerous fat which is stored around our heart and organs, it’s the fat that can contribute to heart disease, dementia, cancer, depression and many other diseases. One of the most worrying things is that you don’t have to be overweight to store visceral fat.
Inulin helps to reduce constipation
As an insoluble fibre, inulin absorbs large amounts of water to aid the movement of stools and improve bowel habits.
Improvement of gut health
Inulin acts as a pre biotic passing through our digestive system unabsorbed. It ferments in the large bowel to create a healthy bioflora and reduce the number of unfriendly bacteria. The introduction of inulin to the diet has been associated with a reduction in colon cancer and IBS.
Helps to reduce appetite
As a fibre, inulin absorbs water in the digestive system to give a feeling of satiety and fullness. It can help as part of a healthy weight loss regime.
Increased nutritional absorption
Inulin helps to increase the amount of calcium and other minerals absorbed from food. Enhanced absorption of calcium may help to offset future long-term problems with osteoporosis.
Improved cholesterol and lipid metabolism
Increased fibre in the diet has been connected to a reduction in cholesterol levels and improving lipid metabolism.
Inulin can be found in our Protein Smoothies, Protein Soups and a small amount in H3O Hydration. Discover more about our products.