Inulin is soluble plant fiber that exists in huge amount in the chicory plant, and is also available in many other plants. Inulin is a type of oligofructose, fructan, and carbohydrate with other fibers like psyllium husk is also deliberated as a plant based ingredient. This adequately increases digestion and another process. Over hundreds of year dietary fibers is considered to enhance bowel functions, gut related problems, curb appetite and also helps in maintaining the heart health. Other plants that contain natural inulin are wheat, bananas, onions, asparagus, garlic etc. These plants are sometimes also referred as probiotics.
Inulin is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is low in calories and high in fiber and also have various other health benefits. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body. It proceeds from the intestines intact and move into the colon and serves the bacteria as food. Fiber has no calorie value and is essential for good health. The inulin fiber is soluble that easily dissolves in water. These fibers then dissolve in the stomach and form a gelatinous substance that enhances slow digestion, increase fullness, and eradicate cholesterol as it passes the digestive tract.
The global inulin market is segmented on the basis of food and beverages, dietary supplements and pharmaceutical. The food and beverage market is further classified into bakery and confectionery, cereals, dairy products, meat products, sports drinks and others. The food and beverage application holds the largest market share in the market. Increase in the number of diabetic patient, growth in dairy industry, increase of knowledge among people about the benefits of low-fat, low-calorie diet, and sugar-free diet and various other health benefits have elevated the growth of global inulin market.
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Some of the health benefits of inulin are:
Increases digestive health– our gut contains a large number of bacteria, but a small number among them has the ability to harm our body. Good bacteria provide many benefits to our health. Inulin evolves these bacteria to grow. Some of the benefits of inulin here are it elevates digestion by increasing the good bacteria in the stomach. Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli help to remove unwanted bad bacteria from the gut, prevents from getting any infection, and stimulates the immunity, adds bulk to the stools, increase your bowel movements, slows the digestion for better absorption of nutrients from the food, it is also said it helps in better absorption of calcium.
Maintains the level of sugar in the blood– the digestion becomes slow due to inulin, which includes the digestion of carbohydrates. This grants the sugar to be released slowly without getting elevated. This ultimately promotes stable sugar level in blood. Inulin is also beneficial in weight management.
Reduces the risk of cancer– inulin is immunity system booster. It can also be a preventive supplement against cancers for the digestive system. Studies have found the combination of prebiotics and probiotics like inulin can be helpful in reducing the risk of colon cancer.
These benefits and growth of dairy industry and also rising number of health-conscious population, high demand over low fat and dairy free products have been responsible for the overall growth of the inulin market. However, some of the side effects and risks involving the use of inulin are discomfort in bowel movements, loose stools, pregnant women should consult their doctors before the intake of any supplements of inulin. These factors are some of the reasons restrain the growth of the market.
Author: Komal Surana
Sr. Content Writer and Editor, Inkwood Research