Sunday, October 4, 2009

Introduction to Inulin

Inulin is NOT insulin! Being dyslexic I took a while to figure that on out. Insulin is the stuff that regulates sugar levels (or doesn't in diabetes). Inulin is a natural sugar. The good thing about inulin is that it adds sweetness, but typically is not absorbed by the body as the sugar molecule is to complex or unable to be processed by the body.

I came across inulin when I planted my Yacon, (pic to left) also called ground apples due to their sweet taste. Very excited that my yacon's and now sprouting and so are my Jerusalem artichokes (which are nothing to do with Jerusalem or artichokes!). Jerusalem artichokes (JA)also contain inulin, but not as much as the yacon's.

It is this reason that diabetics can handle yacons and JA, as they don't play havoc with blood sugar levels like potatoes or other cooked starches do.

Now the reason for this post is that a paper has just been published that looked at feeding pigs inulin. Pigs are a similar species to humans so are often used in animal studies that are looking for effects that could help human understanding.

It turns out that inulin helps iron uptake and decreases inflammation. Therefore eating food contained inulin are good for you as the western diet is full of pro inflammation foods. It is this inflammation which ultimately causes heart disease and strokes.

Refererence: Yasuda et al Supplemental Dietary Inulin Influences Expression of Iron and Inflammation Related Genes in Young Pigs J. Nutr. (September 23, 2009). © 2009 American Society for Nutrition. Image Source

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