Chances are, you may never have heard of inulin fiber, but it’s been taken to the food industry by storm in the 21st century. That’s because it’s been found to be great for dieters that are looking to cut their carb and calorie intake, and also a great substitute to sugar.
Inulin is not only good for you, but there are several health benefits that you need to know about. Here’s everything you need to know about inulin and why it should be more part of your daily life.
What is Inulin?
Even if you have never heard of inulin, you probably consume 2 to 3 grams of it every day, without even realizing it. Inulin fiber is a starchy soluble fiber that is found in a number of fruits and vegetables you enjoy, including wheat, garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, and especially chicory.
Inulin is prebiotic that is extracted from chicory root fiber while working to provide your gut with good digestive health. Many people today have been looking for ways to add more fiber to their diet, and inulin is a great choice. Another perk is that it contains no digestible carbs.
What does Inulin fiber do?
Many people don’t realize that our bodies have good bacteria in them that help our gut function properly. Inulin fiber works as a stimulant for the bacteria that grows in your gut, which then helps you absorb nutrients easier while fighting off infections and bad bacteria. It even works to improve your immune system and help with bowel movements.
Is Inulin Good for the Keto Diet?
Inulin fiber has been found to be quite healthy for you. If you’re on the keto diet and are looking for a sweet substitute, chicory root is a good choice if you don’t care for stevia so much. In its packaged form, it’s light and sweet, great for using in your tea and coffee or adding to your favorite desserts and smoothies.
Is Inulin a Good Source of Fiber?
So just how much fiber can you expect to find in inulin fiber? It happens to contain a staggering 9 grams of fiber per tablespoon. That’s huge! While inulin is an excellent source of fiber, it’s important to remember that your main source of fiber should be coming from whole foods and not simply by taking supplements.
Side Effects of Inulin Fiber (Chicory Root)
Chicory root is generally safe for most people to consume in small doses, but if it’s ingested too quickly or in large amounts, there may be uncomfortable side effects. This may include bloating, abdominal pain, intestinal noises, belching and flatulence. If it comes into contact with your skin, there’s a thin possibility that you may have skin irritation from it.
Benefits of Inulin
Inulin has many health benefits that you should know about. It’s important to keep in mind that you may not see results overnight after taking inulin supplements. You’ll notice gradual improvements over a period of time.
Help with Stool Consistency
Taking inulin as a natural supplement can actually help people that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and people that are dealing with constipation. It also provides stool regularity, especially for older people that struggle to go on a consistent basis.
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- What’s a macro and why do I count them?
- How do I find the best recipes?
- What is ketosis and how do I get my body there?
- What fruits are allowed on a ketogenic diet?
- Will I get “Keto Flu” and what do I do about it?
Promotes Weight Loss
Great news for all you dieters out there! Inulin can curb your appetite. Adults that take inulin have found that it makes them feel less hungry and full much longer. Because it regulates your appetite through less calorie intake, it can help with weight loss.
Helps Manage Diabetes
Studies have shown that taking inulin can actually help improve blood sugar control in people that have diabetes or prediabetes. In fact, in some cases, it may even reverse type 2 diabetes, with people that have used (HP) high-performance inulin.
Improved Bone Health
There have been animal and children studies that have proven that inulin helped with calcium and magnesium absorption while improving bone density.
May Prevent Colon Cancer
There is much more research that needs to be done, but inulin has shown signs of reducing inflammation and cancer development around the colon. In animal studies, it has tested positively for reducing the growth of precancerous cells.
Uses for Inulin Powder
The main uses for inulin powder are to help dieters with weight loss, those suffering from constipation, and also for reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. It’s a naturally sweet ingredient that goes well in many drinks and foods. People use it in the place of corn syrup or sprinkle it on their fruit and oatmeal. Have you ever taken vitamins that are hard to swallow? Use inulin powder as a medicine chaser might take that nasty taste right out of your mouth.
Substitutes for Inulin (Chicory Root) Fiber on Keto
It’s not uncommon today that you will find inulin in certain processed foods as a substitute for fat. A few places you may notice this would be in candy bars, yogurts, cheese, and ice cream.
While the chicory root is the best source for inulin, there are several other plants that contain a decent amount of fiber also. A small list of these natural substitutes includes asparagus, bananas, garlic, dandelion root, leeks, and Jerusalem artichokes.
Inulin Powder and Baking
If you’re on the keto diet, do you have a sugar-free or flour-free recipe that needs improvement in its taste? Inulin powder can be used as a sweetener substitute for all your baking recipes. It has a milder sweetness than sugar, 10 times less, in fact.
So make sure you pay close attention to how much inulin you need to add to each recipe. It can even be used in the place of oils while making soups, sauces, and condiments.
Now you have a pretty good understanding of inulin, and why it should be more a part of your diet on a consistent basis. If you’ve known about inulin for a while, and have been taking it regularly, what are some benefits you’ve noticed?
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