02 March 2023 at 14:01
The Hidden Powers of Inulin
Inulin, a type of prebiotic dietary fibre found naturally in many plants, has been shown to have a number of health benefits. Not only is it good for bowel function, but it has also been shown to improve sleep and reduce visceral fat. And it tastes good, too!
Research has shown that a spoonful of inulin daily may help improve the quality of your sleep. In one study, participants who took inulin woke less during the night, and spent more time in deep sleep. In another study, women who regularly consumed inulin reported improved sleep quality and less fatigue.
While the mechanism behind these effects is not fully understood, it is believed that inulin may increase the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, which can help regulate sleep.
Inulin passes through the digestive system largely intact and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. As it moves through the intestines, it forms a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion of food, making you feel fuller for longer. This helps to reduce appetite and prevent overeating. It also helps to stabilise blood sugar which has a similar effect on appetite and cravings.
Reduced Visceral Fat:
Visceral fat is a specific type of fat that accumulates around the organs and is associated with a number of health problems, including insulin resistance, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Inulin has been shown to reduce visceral fat by increasing the activity of certain hormones, which can help regulate appetite and reduce fat storage. Studies have shown that just 10g of inulin per day can lead to a significant reduction in visceral fat and waist circumference in just 12 weeks.
Inulin in the diet:
Inulin is found naturally in a variety of foods, including chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, onions, and garlic. However, it can be difficult to consume enough inulin through diet alone, so it can be taken in powdered supplement form. It is well tolerated in most people at a dose of 5-10g per day (one to two teaspoons). It has a slightly sweet flavour, so can be used on porridge oats, in yogurts and smoothies, and even as a substitute for some of the sugar in baking (just be careful not to go over 5-10g per portion of whatever you are baking)
As with any supplement, if you have any existing medical conditions then consult a qualified Nutrition practitioner for personalised advice before use.