A new Healthy Vegetable for Many People
Everyone is familiar with the traditional vegetables - peas, beans, corn. For the more adventurous there is eggplant and zucchini. If you talk about artichoke, most often you are referring to that strange green apple sized vegetable that is really an immature flower bud, and popular with those who are really into European cuisine. But there is another artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke. that is getting more and more attention, mainly because of its health promoting properties.
Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) also referred to as suntuber, sunchoke or topinambour in French, comes in several irregular shaped tubers that can have red or brown skin. JA is easy to grow, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
Jerusalem artichoke has received attention because it has the highest concentration of the carbohydrate inulin of any common foods. Leeks, onions, garlic, bananas and rye bread also contain inulin, but in much lower concentrations. The JA plant produces inulin and stores it in the tuber in the fall where it is an energy source used to get the plant through the winter and support sprouting in the spring.
The human digestive system is not capable of breaking down inulin. But some bacteria, most notably bifidobacteria, that reside in the lower gastrointestinal intestinal (GI) tract are able to break down and use inulin. Bifidobacteria are at the top of the list of beneficial bacteria for humans, and research has shown that consuming inulin is the best way to increase bifido numbers, and thereby improve gut health. It would appear that improved immune function, increased calcium absorption, improvements in constipation and diarrhea as well as no influence on serum glucose, no stimulation of insulin secretion and no influence on glucagon secretion when inulin is consumed and / or the bifidobacteria population is increased. This is why more people are adding Jerusalem artichoke to their diet.
Want to increase the number of probiotic Bifidobacteria in the gut? Get more inulin in your diet. Eat the prebiotic Jerusalem artichoke.
|Total lipid (fat):||0.01 g|
|Fiber, total dietary:||1.6 g|
|Sugars, total:||9.6 g|
|Ref: USDA Nutrient Database|
The bifidogenic effect of inulin and oligofructose and its consequences for gut health
Eu J Clin Nutr 2009,63:1277-1289