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Do you love your morning cup of nutrition-rich coffee but find yourself worried about a caffeine overdose? Chicory root may be just the answer you’re looking for.
This popular coffee substitute does so much more than take the place of your favorite breakfast beverage. In addition to providing a boost of extra dietary fiber, chicory root adds a smooth, creamy texture to foods, making it a great fat replacement in ice creams, margarine, and dressings for those looking to increase weight loss effortlessly.
While this doesn’t necessarily replace all the high-quality fiber found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods, there are many potential health benefits of chicory root, making it a valuable addition to your daily diet.
What Is Chicory Root?
Chicory root grows from a perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family, which usually has bright blue flowers. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, including endive or chicons, but ground chicory root is also used for baking or swapped in for coffee.
Chicory root is a bit wood-like, and, due to its fibrous composition, it’s not digested in the small intestine but instead maintains its forms as is travels to the colon or large intestine.
The chicory root (CichoriumIntybus) has been around for quite some period and has been cultivated since ancient Egypt. It has also been a popular addition to coffee in France since the 19th century, where it was commonly roasted and ground.
Benefits of Chicory Root
Help to Treat Osteoarthritis
Chicory has anti-inflammatory qualities that some scientists say can treat osteoarthritis. In one study, participants took an oral supplement, but people have also used it topically to treat swelling. Chicory’s effectiveness in reducing inflammation is still in question, however. Most studies looking at its anti-inflammatory properties have been done on animals. More research with human participants is needed to make a fair conclusion.
Cut down on Caffeine
Let’s be real: Brews solely made with chicory will not give you that caffeine is high. But if you’re a person who loves the taste of coffee and doesn’t want the jitters, a chicory brew might be for you. Another option is to mix chicory with a small amount of coffee to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume in one cup.
Improve Your Digestive Health
Say goodbye to constipation. Chicory root is rich in inulin fiber, which can support your food more easily pass through your digestive tracts. Inulin is also prebiotic that can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria for a happy gut.
Since inulin is a soluble fiber that holds water, it can be used as a low-calorie option to replace fat in specific recipes. Some studies say that chicory can help lower blood sugar and treat diabetes as well. In general, the soluble fiber is known for its ability to decrease the glycemic index in foods and lessen insulin resistance.
Potential Improvement in Brain Function
Chicory contains manganese and vitamin B6, which are essential nutrients for your noggin. Manganese is a vasodilator with anti-oxidative properties that help improve blood flow to the brain and fight free-radicals. It can also increase the speed that electrical signals pass through the mind to improve overall brain function. Vitamin B6, on the other hand, is a vital nutrient needed to create certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
What is chicory root coffee?
Chicory root has an intensely rich and bitter flavor—think of how bitter even endive and radicchio leaves are—which is why we typically don’t eat it on its own. But, this flavor profile makes chicory root an excellent coffee substitute.
Chicory root coffee is a beverage that’s produced from chicory roots that have been ground, roasted, and brewed. On its own, chicory root coffee has a related taste and color as traditional coffee, but is a bit woodier.” In France, where chicory root grows natively, Nestlé sells a beverage called Ricoré, 60% chicory, and 40% coffee. This kind of coffee-chicory mixture is also popular in New Orleans and some other countries. While this tradition likely started as a way to stretch coffee grounds (which are more expensive than chicory root), some people now do it to lessen the caffeine content of a coffee cup.
[wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: What is the chicory root good for?”]A: Chicory root is a great source of inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber that has been linked to increased weight loss and improved gut health. It also contains some manganese and vitamin B6, two nutrients tied to brain health.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Does chicory have side effects?”]A; Chicory root extract and chicory seed are possibly harmless for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts, short-term. Using chicory by mouth might create minor GI side effects, including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and belching.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Is chicory root safe?”]A: Chicory root has been used for eras for culinary and medicinal objects and is considered generally safe for most people. However, its fiber may cause gas and bloating when consumed in excess. The inulin that’s used in packaged foods or supplements is sometimes chemically altered to make it sweeter.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: What is the best way to consume chicory root?”]A; Dosage and Preparation. When consumed as a food, chicory roots can be boiled, and the leaves (endive), buds, and roots can be eaten like a vegetable. Some also roast the root or buy roasted ground chicory root in coffee or alone as a coffee substitute.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: Does the chicory root raise blood pressure?”]A: Chicory root is diuretic and slightly sedative. It is a very safe herb and is an excellent alternative to coffee. If you are using diuretic blood pressure medication and are drinking more than 2 cups of chicory tea daily, check your blood pressure to see if the additional diuretic has any effect.[/wps_faq]
Finally, chicory root extract is an excellent prebiotic addition when following a ketogenic diet. The chicory root extract has been shown to improve the gut microbiome as well as other health variables.
The gut microbiome and our health are inter-linked—so typically improving the microbiome will also demonstrate downstream health benefits, like many of those mentioned in this article.