All About Inulin and its Benefits

Experts recommend that people consume inulin. Although this fiber is found in some foods, it’s best to include it in your diet through supplements. In this article, learn all about inulin and its benefits.
All About Inulin and its Benefits

Last update: 06 April, 2021

Inulin is a prebiotic substance that has many health benefits. Although you can find it in certain plant foods, you can also take it as a supplement to help improve the state of your gut microbiota.

When we talk about prebiotics, we’re referring to a set of soluble fibers that serve as food for probiotics. These are the bacteria that live in the intestine and allow the synthesis of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) with anti-inflammatory properties.

All about inulin: benefits

Below, we’re going to explain the main benefits of inulin. We’re sure they’ll encourage you to incorporate it into your diet whenever you can.

1. Improves microbiota health

Inulin can promote the growth of bacteria that live in the intestine. A study published in the journal Gut also confirms this. It can reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Similarly, it may also relieve chronic constipation.

Likewise, an improved gut microbiota positively affects immune system functioning. These microorganisms can act as a barrier against many pathogens and toxic substances. An example of the latter is beta-amyloid compounds, which can enter the blood and build up in the brain, leading to neurological disorders.

2. Reduces systemic inflammation

Chopped onion.
Onions are a natural source of inulin.

Inulin can promote the synthesis of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. These nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

In fact, a study published in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research states that these compounds can beneficially influence a person’s insulin sensitivity and lipid profile. This reduces the incidence of metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

It also modulates inflammation at the vascular level, which reduces the likelihood of thrombi formation.

3. Increases satiety

Fiber may enhance satiety, and inulin isn’t the exception. Consuming it regularly could curb your appetite, which reduces your chances of snacking on unhealthy foods between meals. Thus, it can be included in low-calorie, weight-loss diets.

All about inulin: sources

Inulin can be naturally found in foods such as garlic. However, it’s a very unstable substance. In fact, simply cutting food in half oxidizes it and reduces its properties.

For this reason, experts recommend eating the products that contain it whole and raw. Artichokes and bananas also contain inulin, as do onions and leeks.

A banana smoothie.
A banana smoothie is an ideal snack.

If you want to consume more inulin, your best option is to resort to supplements. You can find many inulin powders on the market. Simply mix this powder with water or with any other drink such as juice.

In fact, it’s a good idea to add it to smoothies, as this reduces their glycemic index and pancreatic impact.

Inulin, a beneficial prebiotic

As you can see, inulin is a substance that you should regularly include in your diet to reap its benefits. Although several foods are natural sources of inulin, the best option is to resort to inulin supplements, as this substance is unstable.

However, experts recommend combining it with probiotics and other prebiotics such as fructooligosaccharides present in the foods we mentioned above. This way, you’ll positively benefit your gut microbiota, which will consequently improve bodily functioning.

At present, the group of bacteria that inhabit the intestine act as an independent “organ”. These bacteria are capable of producing neurotransmitters and hormones and of modulating food absorption and digestion.

In fact, gut microbiota alterations could lead to the appearance of food intolerances or allergies. To avoid these problems, we advise that you pay special attention to your intestinal flora.

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  • Vandeputte D., Falony G., Vieira Silva S., Wang J., et al., Prebiotic inulin type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut, 2017. 66 (11): 1968-1974.
  • Rossanravan N., Mahdavi R., Alizadeh E., Jafarabadi MA., et al., Effect of butyrate and inulin supplementationo on glycemic status, lipid profile and glucagon like peptide 1 level in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Horm Metab Res, 2017. 49 (11): 886-891.