What is inulin?

What is inulin, and which foods contain it?

What is inulin, and which foods contain it?

TELL ME MORE: Inulin Inulin is a type of soluble fiber found in a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains. It supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and keeping the bacteria balanced. That’s because inulin can’t be digested by your small intestine, so it has to travel to the lower gut, where it acts as a prebiotic, or food source for the good bacteria that live there.

Your gut bacteria convert inulin into short-chain fatty acids, which provide nourishment for colon cells as well as other health benefits. And having the right balance of good and bad gut bacteria is what keeps your gut healthy and can stave off some diseases. Some of the best, natural sources of inulin include: chickory root, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, onions, jicama, and asparagus. Inulin is also used as a bulking agent in processed foods, and is often listed as "chicory root extract."

Keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing: high inulin intake — about 40 grams per day or more — can lead to digestive discomfort.

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