Looking for another reason to eat more plants? Check out the health benefits of inulin and how to get more in your diet
- 1 Minute Read
If you prepare meals from scratch, which often involves using onions and garlic, then you'll want to read on to learn about the health benefits of inulin. Inulin, a type of dietary fiber commonly found in plant foods, boasts several health benefits. These include aiding in weight loss, controlling blood sugar, and promoting gut health.
In addition to onions and garlic, inulin is found naturally in a variety of foods:
You'll also find inulin in processed foods in the form of chicory root. Manufacturers add chicory root to products as a fat replacer. It is commonly used in ice cream, yogurt or snack bars to create a creamy texture without adding calories. If you see chicory root in the ingredient list, you know it contains inulin.
Inulin works by fertilizing the helpful bacteria in the colon. It passes through the upper part of the digestive tract and then is fermented when it arrives in the colon. Many people are familiar with the term probiotic (helpful bacteria living in the colon). Dietary fiber such as inulin works by feeding these helpful bacteria and influencing the overall health of the microbiome.
Because inulin is fermented in the colon, it can cause digestive side effects like bloating, gas, abdominal cramping, and more frequent bowel movements. For this reason, individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may want to avoid inulin containing foods and supplements. Chicory root (a common source of inulin) is in the same family as ragweed. Individuals who have an allergy to ragweed should talk with their doctors before taking chicory root. Taking large amounts of chicory root during pregnancy is possibly unsafe and should be avoided.
Looking for some dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-forward recipes? Both of these recipes are easy to prepare and provide you with some naturally occurring inulin.
Move slowly when adding or increasing inulin in your diet. This type of dietary fiber impacts people differently and side effects, especially when added to processed foods, may occur. To see how your body responds to increased inulin, try incorporating inulin rich foods on a regular basis while paying attention to how your body feels. In the end, it is not worth it to suffer from stomach troubles, simply in hopes of reaping the health benefits of inulin.
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Updated: June 2, 2020Other Health Issues->Gastrointestinal (Gut)