Have you ever heard that prebiotics are beneficial to your health? What exactly are they? And what is a probiotic?
Is inulin really a word? Is it a fiber or prebiotic? Why should I take it?
Prebiotic vs. Probiotic
A prebiotic plays a role in gut health by helping it grow good bacteria which aid in digestion. The human intestine naturally has bacteria that live in it. They play a role in providing vitamins and fatty acids the body needs, and in the digestion of carbohydrates.
On the other hand, probiotics are live, active colonies of bacteria that help you produce more bacteria in your intestine.
Common probiotics include Lactobacillus strains, Bifidobacterium strains, Enterococcus faecium, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Lactobacillus helps to break down lactose and control the bad bacteria in one’s gut. Bifidobacterium helps one’s immune system while Enterococcus faecium helps prevent harmful organisms from growing in the gut.
Saccharomyces boulardii is beneficial in treating and preventing diarrhea. So, prebiotic inulin acts as “food” for microorganisms known as probiotics.
So, What Exactly is Inulin?
Inulin is a type of prebiotic that is found in many common foods such as artichokes, garlic, rye, berries, legumes, oats, and more.
It is not only a prebiotic but also acts as a soluble fiber that helps with digestion.
How is Inulin Beneficial?
It is a Prebiotic
As mentioned previously, inulin is a prebiotic found in many foods we eat. It can aid in gut health by providing healthy “food” for the intestine’s bacteria to consume.
Oftentimes, when you look for a prebiotic supplement at the store, it will be paired with a probiotic on the label. It can often be seen advertised as a supplement for digestive health.
Helps with Calcium Absorption
Calcium plays a large role in bone health, especially for older female adults. It also helps compose teeth, muscle function, prevent blood clotting, hormonal secretion, and nerve signaling.
Many Americans do not consume enough calcium on a daily basis. Prebiotics can help one meet their daily needed calcium intake by increasing the rate at which the body absorbs calcium.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
It is estimated that about 10.5% of the US population has diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, insulin becomes resistant to utilizing the blood sugar in the body. This then causes blood sugar levels to increase. For non-obese people, inulin can help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Can Keep You Full
Inulin is not only a prebiotic, but it is also a soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber, also known as viscous fiber, breaks down in the stomach to create a gel-like substance. This helps increase satiety after a meal which leaves one feeling full and not hungry.
Can Improve Heart Health
As a soluble fiber, once consumed, inulin can help support a healthy heart. When ingested, it can bind to bad cholesterol (also known as Low-Density-Lipoproteins or LDL) and prevent it from being absorbed by the body.
Top Sources of Inulin
Inulin is found in many of the foods we eat every day. You may not even have realized you were consuming inulin as often as you do!
Inulin is naturally occurring in fresh fruits and vegetables. It can also be used as a fat replacement in some processed foods like candy bars or ice cream.
One can find inulin in a supplement as well in protein bars, drinks, and our gut health supplement Naked Gut.
Below are some examples of food sources of inulin.
- Dandelion root
- Ice cream
- Protein bars
- High-performance inulin
- Chicory inulin
- Naked Gut
Inulin is a prebiotic that can help promote a healthy gut. It is also a soluble fiber that not only lowers “bad” cholesterol but also increases the feeling of satiety after eating which leaves one feeling full for a longer period of time.
Inulin also helps increase calcium absorption which helps maintain strong bones and muscle function.
In those with diabetes, it can assist with controlling blood sugar levels.
Inulin can be found in many common foods such as bananas, onions, and wheat. It is also found in a supplement form like in Naked Gut. There are many benefits to consuming inulin and many opportunities to come across it in your everyday life.