inulin rich foods

Ever Heard of Inulin? No, Not Insulin.


What is Inulin?

At first glance, most people would think inulin was a typo for insulin, as important as this nutrient is, it's surprising more people don't know about it. That may be changing as it is now becoming one of the most recent buzz products in the health food industry. In today's world of horrible eating habits, educating yourself about inulin may be a huge benefit to you, if not now, it will be as you get older.

Inulin is a plant-based fiber, often harvested from an herb called chicory, but more importantly than that is how it acts in the body. Studies have shown it can be very beneficial to people with Type II diabetes by having a positive impact on glycemic control and antioxidant levels, as well as benefitting those with stomach or digestive problems.

What's so special about this fiber?

Inulin is a group of polysaccharides naturally produced by certain plants; mostly the roots of plants, but predominantly in the roots of plants we don't typically eat very often. Inulin is now being harvested as a dietary supplement and has been used for years in many protein bars or energy bars and many products that boast about having high fiber content. As a natural fiber, inulin provides a number of important health benefits, such as help in preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol levels, and promoting good bacteria (probiotics) in the intestinal tract. Inulin is considered a prebiotic, which is a substance that nourishes and supports probiotics, which provide healthy gut flora.

Inulin and type 2 diabetes.

Inulin also may help with glycemic control in people who have type 2 diabetes. Researchers came to this conclusion after studying 49 women with the disease who were randomly assigned to take either 10 grams per day of inulin or maltodextrin (control group) for two months.
By the end of the study, women who had taken inulin had experienced a significant decline in fasting plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and malondialdehyde levels, along with a significant increase in total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase activity when compared with the control group. What does this mean?

The decline in fasting plasma glucose is a positive trait because it means inulin may help better control sugar levels. Glycosylated hemoglobin (also known as hemoglobin A1C) is an indicator of how well individuals are managing diabetes over time. A decline in this factor is positive because it indicates an improvement in blood sugar control and a reduced risk of diabetes complications.
Malondialdehyde is a substance that is a marker for oxidative stress, which is a process that damages cells. Therefore a decline in malondialdehyde caused by inulin is a positive effect. Increases in total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase activity also are both positive signs because they indicate enhanced activity against damaging molecules called free radicals.

Therefore, the results of this study indicate that inulin provides a number of important benefits for women with type 2 diabetes, but also, foods containing inulin are one of the few starches diabetics can eat freely without worrying about spiking their blood sugar levels. That in itself is a huge benefit to diabetics whose food variety is so limited to begin with.

inulin supplement labelBenefits of Inulin in the Diet.

Inulin considered a water soluable fiber, meaning it's a plant-based carbohydrate whose bonds cannot be broken by human digestive enzymes. Like all fibers, therefore, dietary inulin is not digested in the small intestine but instead travels intact on to the colon (large intestine), making it fodder for the healthy gut bacteria and contributing to the bulk of our stools. Another recent study reported that inulin was not just beneficial for diabetics but is among the prebiotics that showed promise in fighting colorectal cancer, metabolic syndrome, and other digestive disorders.

However, the fact that inulin is highly fermentable by the friendly bacteria in our guts can pose problems for some individuals. Prebiotics are, in essence, like food for “probiotics;” or, a source of nutrition for gut bacteria that helps nourish them and enable them to thrive. Thus inulin is often included in probiotic supplements or other digestive health supplements. However, digestively healthy and digestively tolerable are two different things, and it’s important to mention that the more fermenting your gut bacteria do, the more gas they produce as a by-products. In other words, large doses of prebiotic fibers like inulin can cause gastrointestinal distress such as gas, bloating and pain in some people. Very sensitive individuals, like those with irritable bowel syndrome, can experience symptoms at even minute doses, like 0.5 to 1 gram. People with “normal” digestive function may tolerate 5 to 10 g of inulin without discomfort.

Jerusalem artichokes are especially high in inulin and can provoke excess gas and bloating in people who generally have no digestive sensitivity, therefore, we suggest being conservative with these foods if you are not used to eating them or haven't had them in a while.

Natural Sources of Inulin:

Chicory root
Elcampagne herb
Jerusalem artichoke/sunchoke
Onion (including onion powder)
Garlic (including garlic powder)
Green/unripe bananas

Another beneficial aspect of Jerusalem artichokes is that they are very easy to grow yourself and once you get them started, you will have an endless supply of them for free. See our Garden Circkles Issue this month for how to grow this inulin-rich plant.



hemp oil productCBD Oil is Changing the Debate Over the use of Marijuana as Medicine.


CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied. In years to come, you will no doubt hear more people talking about this new medical breakthrough and using it.

CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD. However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC - which is the compound in marijuana that makes a person high. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.

Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.

CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.

A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.

Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:

Antiemetic Reduces nausea and vomiting
Anticonvulsant Suppresses seizure activity
Antipsychotic Combats psychosis disorders
Anti-inflammatory Combats inflammatory disorders
Anti-oxidant Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer Combats tumor and cancer cells
Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant Combats anxiety and depression disorders

A pharmaceutical version of CBD was recently developed by a drug company based in the UK. The company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now funding clinical trials on CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia and certain types of epilepsy, and the FDA has given GW Pharm approval to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy called Epidiolex.

GW Pharmaceuticals makes another cannabis-based drug called Sativex, which has been approved in over 24 countries for treating multiple sclerosis.

Likewise, a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, led by Dr. Sean McAllister, has stated that they hope to begin trials on CBD as a breast cancer therapy.

WARNING: There are many product manufacturers out there currently riding the coattails of these recent findings and that claim to be offering and marketing CBD oil products made from hemp. CBD oil is still illegal in the U.S., and therefore, any form of it that they are selling is no doubt fake or making claims it shouldn't be. Yes, CBD oil can be made from hemp, but it would be at such a lower dosage than what the studies are using that it would have to be a diluted version and thus may not have the health benefits they are claiming. Do your research before wasting your money on products that claim to be made from CBD oil .While they may be able to get away with claims that their product is "True" or 'Pure" CBD oil from hemp, and it probably is, it will not have nearly the medicinal potency of that being used in clinical trials. Please keep this in mind.


various mushrooms

Foods That Heal: Mushrooms.


We are talking about culinary mushrooms here. For herbal mushrooms, see our Herb Club and do a search for the mushroom you are interested in learning more about.

Therapeutic Properties: Kombucha mushrooms can also be used to boost the immune system, similar to Reishi or Shiitake, but not as potent for this purpose. Claims are that it does have some anti-toxin abilities and increases energy levels. White, button mushrooms offer more nutritionally than medicinally. Mushrooms are one of the few edible plants that contain germanium, which counteracts toxins, increases the immune systems efficiency and increases oxygen in the body.

White button mushrooms actually block estrogen and so can be beneficial for those who have allergies or immune sensitivities due to too much estrogen from chemicals in foods and foods in plastic containers. Which is just about everybody these days.

Acid or Alkaline: Alkaline

Phytoestrogen: No, is a estrogen blocker.

Significant Nutrients: Fairly high in vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) copper and iron and zinc.


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We are so far removed from what it is that we need to be healthy, that we are not healthy as a general society. To make matters worse, we are so used to functioning at an inferior health level, we are not even aware how much better we could feel, how much healthier we could be, how much more energy we should have, how much younger we could look, until we take the steps in the right direction and give them a chance to work so we have a comparison. The only way to experience this is to try something different; because what we've been doing obviously isn't working.
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January 2016
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and Nutrition Circkles

"The Doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
~Thomas Edison
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