Are you getting enough fiber?
If you’ve cut down on carbohydrates, you need to be more proactive to make sure you’re getting enough fiber. Which goes beyond just what it needs for digestion.
There are many health benefits of fiber.
And, you can certainly get enough on Keto Zone if you’re aware of good sources.
For example, inulin and psyllium husk are two great sources. Here’s what they are, how they are different, great sources, and the health benefits of fiber.
Inulin is a prebiotic fiber, meaning it feeds the healthy bacteria and cells in our digestive tracts.
Healthy bacterias, whether already in the gut or consumed via foods or probiotic supplements, need a food source to proliferate.
In nature, inulin is found in many plants, like chicory root. Inulin is made up of fructose molecules linked by bonds human digestive tracts can’t break down and digest.
In this way, it’s not a nutritive carbohydrate or calorie. Instead, inulin is consumed by healthy bacteria and converted into a short-chain fatty acid that further nourishes colon cells (1).
Psyllium husk is made of both soluble (70%) and insoluble fibers (30%). This means twice the benefits.
Similar to inulin, the soluble fiber and acts as a prebiotic, to feed and fortify healthy gut bacteria.
The insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract, mostly intact. It provides bulk and softness to stools, subtle laxative effects, and can improve digestive health, in addition to other benefits of fiber.
In fact, in one study, the inulin fiber group lost 2 pounds while the control group gained one. While consuming 21 grams of inulin per day, the inulin group experienced lower hunger-hormone levels and increased fullness (4).
First, as a fiber, it slows digestion to reduce blood sugar spikes.
What’s more, another study showed that 10 grams of High-Performance inulin per day reduced fasting blood by an average of 8.5% and hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C) by an average of 10.5% (11).
Healthy gut bacteria are at the center of overall health.
Both inulin and psyllium husk stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. When these bacteria proliferate, yeast overgrowth is inhibited, digestion improves, and the immune function benefits (12, 13).
Inulin and psyllium husk also decrease constipation, hemorrhoids, and other digestion issues.
Inulin relieves constipation with soluble fibers; Psyllium does so with both soluble and insoluble fibers.
For example, one 4-week study found that 15 grams of inulin per day improved constipation in older adults (14).
Psyllium husk softens stools and increases stool bulk to reduce constipation and hemorrhoids.
Inulin improves the texture of manufactured foods.
You can use it in home cooking as well. Use inulin powder in Keto Zone recipes to thicken sauces, soups, condiments and more. Stir it into a warm liquid and continue stirring until slightly thickened.
Psyllium husk and inulin are proven cholesterol reducer.
One study concluded that 6 weeks of psyllium intake resulted in lower cholesterol in obese and overweight participants (15).
What’s more, another study confirmed that 5 grams of psyllium three times daily for six weeks reduced triglycerides by 26%, compared to the placebo (16).
Bone health depends on the efficient absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium.
Studies have shown that psyllium husk can reduce blood pressure.
In fact, one study showed a diet with an additional 12 grams of fiber from psyllium reduced systolic blood pressure by 5.9 mm mercury in 36 participants with high blood pressure (21).
Studies have supported inulin as an anti-colon cancer agent.
A review of 12 animal studies found that 88% of the groups given inulin saw a reduction in precancerous colon growths (22).
In terms of human studies, one promising experiment showed that inulin caused the colon environment to be less favorable for cancer cells (23).
Since these fibers promote stools and reduce constipation, it’s a wonder they can also improve diarrhea. Digestion is about “balance.” With the right amount of fiber, you should experience regularity without constipation or diarrhea.
How does it work?
The safety of inulin and psyllium husk has been studied extensively.
For most people, it’s completely safe.
For those who have experienced small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, there may be side effects. Also rarely, those allergic to ragweed may experience worsening symptoms from inulin (26).
Overall, they are both extremely safe and beneficial in reasonable doses.
There are many health benefits of fiber. Both inulin and psyllium husk can improve health from digestion to heart health to bones to blood sugars. If you’ve eliminated many carbohydrate sources from your diet, you can still get plenty of fiber. Choose whole foods like nuts, seeds, and vegetables, and inulin and psyllium husk as supplements.