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With our modern, sedentary lifestyle, and easy access to fast food it's no wonder that lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and some types of cancer are increasing as our population ages. Computer based occupations mean we spend far more time sitting and reading than our fore-fathers used to, and it takes focus and determination to get out and exercise after a day's work when we're feeling drained and tired. The sofa beckons and a glass of wine is looking pretty good after a long commute and evening chores.
Our bodies are finely tuned instruments, with our digestive systems leading the way in regulating and affecting our overall health and well being. It is extremely important, therefore, that we are mindful of the effects that poor diet and eating habits have on the way we feel and perform. We have all heard of the term 'super food', which basically means that a particular food has some real health benefits and/or some type of specialised nutritional value. In practise, eating a balanced diet with a focus on fresh, non-processed ingredients is the original 'super food' and we shouldn't need anything extra unless we have health issues that call for additional supplementation. The reality is though that we are often time poor, and trying to bring together all the fresh ingredients required to keep the balance right is time consuming and often downright exhausting. This is where a handful of true super foods really come into play, and inulin is one of these.
The True Super Food
Inulin is a type of dietary fibre that can be found in items like chicory, asparagus, onions, banana, garlic and wheat. It is water soluable and can be used as fat alternative in items like mayonnaise and margarine. It is also useful as a partial flour substitute. The real benefit of inulin is that as it dissolves in the digestive tract it swells and creates a substance that increases the feeling of fullness, and slows down the digestive process which gives your body more time to absorb important minerals and vitamins from your food (1). This includes vital minerals such as calcium and iron, which are often lacking in older age groups and particularly in older women. Lower levels of these contribute markedly to osteoporosis, anaemia, fatigue, lack of coordination, and other metabolic health conditions that are of real concern in aging populations. Inulin has been clinically proven to reverse problems associated with lack of vitamin and mineral absorption, giving a new lease on life and well being (2).
Even More Good News
But wait there's more! In addition to what is already an impressive resume, inulin is also instrumental in increasing the population of good bacteria in your gut which help to fight off pathogens (disease-causing bacteria), reduce infection and kick start your immune system. It's an extremely powerful combination and one that deserves more publicity given the fact that we have been going through a pandemic over these past few years - a healthy immune system, particularly if we are in the over 50's category, should be a priority right now.
We have been long time supporters of inulin, having developed a suite of health drinks and tonics that have been market leaders in Asia for decades. These include both dietary fibre in the form of inulin, pro-biotics containing several strains of beneficial bacteria, and colostrum which is well known for its immune boosting properties. Our products are world beaters and can all be customised to suit your particular requirements. Whichever way you look at it, inulin deserves a place in the super food category - there is nothing better to provide true gut health and digestive wellbeing, without the expensive price tag of many nutritional supplements.
1.Krupa-Kozak U, Swiątecka D, Bączek N, Brzóska MM. Inulin and fructooligosaccharide affect in vitro calcium uptake and absorption from calcium-enriched gluten-free bread. Food Funct. 2016 Apr;7(4):1950-8. doi: 10.1039/c6fo00140h. PMID: 26965706.
2. Jirillo, E., Jirillo, F., & Magrone, T. (2012). Healthy effects exerted by prebiotics, probiotics, and symbiotics with special reference to their impact on the immune system. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 82 (3), 200-208.