Fiber is a major component in most healthy diets. Inulin is one of them. It is made up of a mixture of large and small carbohydrates, among which fructose is the main sugar. That is why it is also known as fructan .
Its ability to absorb water classifies it as a soluble fiber, which provides a minimum caloric value (just 1.5 calories per gram). It complies with special health properties and according to Kaur and Gupta, its behavior against other ingredients broadens its application in the food industry.
Where is this type of fiber found? What are its benefits and what care to take when consuming it? We’ll find out later.
The ALAN magazine published that more than 36,000 species of plants contain inulin, but only in some foods it is found in sufficient quantities.
Among the plants that produce the most fructans are those of the Liliaceae family , such as garlic, onion, asparagus and garlic, and the Compositae family , in roots and tubers such as chicory, Jerusalem artichoke and yacon. One review shows inulin values in grams per 100 grams of dehydrated food:
- Jerusalem artichoke : 89%.
- Chicory : 79%.
- Dahlia root : 59%.
- Onion : 48%.
- Garlic : 37%.
- Garlic : 29%.
- Yacon : 27%.
- Asparagus : 4%.
- Cambur : 2%.
- Rye : 1%.
Chicory roots are the most common source for extracting inulin and it is found in many regions of the world, from central and northern Europe, China, Africa, South America, and India. Most common foods, such as onion and garlic, contain it in moderate proportion.
Inulin can be ingested naturally or in supplement form, being a fast and effective way of supplying it to the body. However, the dosage has to be recommended by a healthcare professional.
What are the benefits of inulin?
Several benefits of inulin have been studied, not only in health, but also at the food industry level. Let’s review these properties.