For those of you who were glued to BBC’s Angela Rippon, telling us ‘How to Stay Young’ it may have highlighted more questions than answers. For instance, what exactly is inulin?
Inulin is a dietary fiber, a naturally occurring oligosaccharide (several simple sugars linked together) belonging to a group of carbohydrates called fructans. Inulin, unlike other carbohydrates is non-digestible, so it passes through the small intestine, and ferments in the large intestine. Through this fermentation process it becomes healthy intestinal micro flora and acts as a prebiotic, used to feed the probiotics (the friendly bacteria) in the gut. In addition to promoting a healthy gastrointestinal tract, inulin may also help with constipation.
Chicory root is the best source of inulin, but there are lots of other foods that contain it that are easier to include in our everyday diets – leeks, onion, asparagus, bananas, garlic, wheat, Jerusalem artichokes and dandelion root.
Yet another reason to increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try this delicious vegetarian kedgeree for an inulin boost!
- 1 tsp coconoil or 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 300g basmati rice
- 250g asparagus, trimmed and halved
- 250g broccoli florets
- 4 eggs (optional)
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes, until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes before stirring in the rice and mixing really well to coat all the grains with the spicy mixture.
- Add the asparagus and broccoli and pour in 600ml water; stir once then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes, still covered.
- Meanwhile, poach the eggs (if using) in a frying pan of simmering water, until just soft.
- Season the kedgeree to taste, then divide between four warmed shallow bowls and serve topped with a poached egg, sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.