The latest advancements in food technology are bringing a myriad of power-packed “functional food” ingredients to tables across the globe. And one of the most potent and unique of these is inulin.

Inulin is a sweet-tasting fiber derived from a wide variety of foods, including agave, garlic, and artichokes. Chemically classified as a fructan, inulin is a chain of fructose molecules linked together. And the unusual way that these molecules are linked is what gives inulin its fantastic functionality and low glycemic score.

You see, inulin can’t be digested by the enzymes in your body – which means it has no effect on blood sugar levels. And that means less work for your endocrine system.

But the benefits don’t end there. Inulin also acts as a prebiotic, helping to boost friendly bacteria in the digestive tract – especially the important Bifidus variety. Boosting these healthy “germs” helps to reduce inflammation, fuels your immune system, and even helps guard against cancer.

Oddly enough, inulin’s extraordinary chemical structure gives it not only a sweet taste, but a creamy, fat-like texture too. That’s right, inulin fiber can be used to replace both sugar and fat in foods.

You can find inulin at your local health food store, and stir sweetness, fiber, and prebiotic protection right into your favorite beverages. Or look for cutting-edge products formulated with inulin (like Stonyfield Farms yogurt).

[Ed. Note: Inulin can amp up the healthfulness of your favorite desserts. Nutrition expert Kelley Herring has used it to help create a delicious and completely guilt-free chocolate cake. Find out how to make rich and healthy desserts right here.]

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet.
Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.