The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a species of sunflower cultivated for its tuber, which stores the carbohydrate inulin (not to be confused with insulin) instead of starch. Inulin is a natural, water-soluble, highly-purified dietary fiber, complex sugar extracted from the root of the Jerusalem Artichoke. Inulin has a benign effect on the body’s glycemic and insulin levels, making it an ideal food for diabetics.
Inulin is among the most beneficial prebiotics known at this time. Prebiotics are essential for the growth of beneficial flora in the gastrointestinal tract to increase nutrient absorption. Beneficial bacteria improves digestion, diminishes lactose intolerance, strengthens the immune system, provides anti-tumor activity, inhibits growth of harmful/pathogentic bacteria, relieves constipation, helps eliminate toxins and carcinogens and decreases the risk of osteo-porosis by increasing mineral absorption. Abundant bioflora helps lower pH levels in the intestinal tract which results in increased calcium absorption, diminished growth of immune-weakening bacteria and reduction of candida, which cannot survive in alkaline environments.
Inulin is a low calorie carbohydrate and thus aids in weight management and safely normalizes blood sugar levels. Following the consumption of inulin, blood sugar levels remain stable, making it a quality sugar substitute in foods for diabetics by creating a natural insulin effect in the body, regulating metabolism and reducing sugar cravings.
As a soluble fiber, it is easily incorporated into dairy products, beverages, confections, frozen desserts and bakery products including breads, cookies, cakes and crackers. Research studies reveal inulin’s ability to reduce triglycerides, lower LDL cholesterol and inhibit the growth of some types of cancer. (The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 133, 2003)