Chicory is a name we heard many times in the context of coffee. Chicory is considered a perfect replacement for coffee and is a root extracted from a flowering plant, Cichorium intybus. This perennial plant has essential nutrients, and its roots are a rich source of fiber. The benefits of Chicory include improving skin barrier function, digestive health, and many more.
In this article, we have provides you with detailed information about the nutritional profile and benefits of Chicory. Read on to know more!
What is Chicory?:
Chicory root bears bright blue flowers and comes from a plant of the dandelion family, which is fibrous and has a wood-like appearance. According to rat studies, this root promotes bone health since it has insulin and acts as a natural laxative (1).
Chicory is cultivated for its culinary use in preparations, medicinal applications and is a Mediterranean plant. Although it originated in Europe, it has been gaining popularity worldwide and grows well in different conditions.
Every part of this plant has beneficial qualities; the root is used as a substitute for coffee, often ground into powder, leaves are used similar to leafy greens.
Chicory Nutritional Values:
The following is the nutritional profile of one raw Chicory root (60 grams):
- 44 calories.
- 0.8 grams of protein.
- 10.5 grams of carbs.
- 0.1 grams of fat.
- 0.9 grams of fiber.
- 7% RDI of Manganese.
- 7% RDI of Vitamin B6.
- 5% RDI of Potassium.
- 5% RDI of Vitamin C.
- 4% RDI of Phosphorus.
- 3% RDI of Folate.
Health Benefits of Chicory Root:
With the nutritional profile of Chicory root at hand, let us know more about all the benefits this offers:
1. Reduces Appetite Aiding in Weight Loss:
Chicory root leads to weight loss by regulating appetite and decrease overall calorie intake, according to studies. According to a study in 48 adults in a 12-week study, the placebo group gained weight. At the same time, consumption of chicory-derived Oligofructose, similar to insulin, caused a reduction in body weight of up to 1 kg (2).
According to the same study, Oligofructose helps decrease ghrelin levels, a hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger.
2. Improves Digestion:
Chicory works as a powerful prebiotic because of insulin present in it, which promotes the health of the gut bacteria improving gut function significantly. Therefore, people with gastrointestinal symptoms could tolerate this root pretty well (3).
Insulin eases constipation by working as a natural fiber (4). It helps reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by promoting a smooth and regular digestive process.
3. Gives Relief from Constipation:
Chicory promotes healthy digestion since it has insulin that passes through your body undigested and feeds your gut bacteria. Insulin, in particular, can relieve constipation, according to some studies (5). For example, according to a survey conducted on 44 adults in a 4-week study, compared to taking a placebo, people who have taken 12 grams of Chicory insulin have significantly increased bowel movement frequency and soft tools (6).
More research is needed to prove the effectiveness of chicory fiber as an additive since the studies are focused on Chicory insulin supplements.
See Also: What Are The Benefits of Black Coffee
4. Improves Gut Health:
Fresh Chicory root by dry weight has 68% insulin (7). Insulin is also called fructan, a type of fiber or fructooligosaccharide, a carbohydrate that your body doesn’t digest since it is made from a short chain of fructose molecules.
5. Improves Liver Function:
According to an Egyptian study, chicory root has been found to reduce oxidative stress and prevent cell damage in rat livers. This study also shows that Chicory reduces the symptoms of liver damage when taken with celery leaves (10).
Although chicory extracts might protect the liver from oxidative damage, when taken in excess, the same chicory root can cause liver damage, according to a rat study.
6. Better Your Heart Health:
More research is needed to prove the efficiency of chicory root on heart health. But by including a general helping of low-calorie vegetables like Chicory in your diet prevents the eventuality of heart disease by avoiding cholesterol, according to the International Atherosclerosis Society.
The plant phenols present in Chicory act as anti-thrombotic and anti-arrhythmic agents and are considered antioxidants. Therefore, consuming chicory-based Coffee instead of regular Coffee reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases by improving the balance of blood and plasma in your body (11).
7. Fight Against Kidney Stones:
Chicory root helps eliminate toxins from your body by increasing urine volume because of its diuretic properties. In addition, it helps prevent renal injury, according to some research. For example, this root has prevented possible kidney damage by lowering serum uric acid levels in rats. Therefore, if the damage to your kidney is caused due to high blood uric acid levels, Chicory can be used as an alternative (12). But consult your doctor before using Chicory root for kidney issues.
8. Improves Brain Function:
Chicory has essential nutrients necessary for your brains, such as manganese and vitamin B6. The anti-oxidative properties of Manganese, which is a vasodilator fights free radicles and improves the blood flow to your brain. In addition, it improves the overall functioning of your brain by increasing the speed of electric signals to the brain. On the other hand, the neurotransmitters in the brain are created with the help of Vitamin B6.
See Also: Is Caffeine Good or Bad for Health?
9. Helps Regulate Blood sugar and Insulin Levels:
Chicory root helps regulate blood glucose levels. In addition, it prevents or delays the onset of diabetes by increasing the levels of a protein called adiponectin (13). According to a rat study, chicory root also slows down the progression of diabetes by acting as a natural dietary supplement (14).
10. Helps Reduce Stress:
Coffee is one of the standard beverages among people of all ages, but it also causes aggravated stress when consumed in excess. Although there is a need for more research to determine the effect of Chicory on stress, Chicory root is a perfect replacement for coffee because of its taste.
11. Help with Arthritis Symptoms:
Although more extensive research is needed, the bioactive extracts of Chicory root can have a potential role in treating osteoarthritis, according to preliminary studies (15). In addition, you will be able to combat inflammation with the help of plant polyphenols in Chicory. Once you consult a doctor, you can use Chicory root as a remedy to treat inflammatory arthritis.
12. Improves Skin Barrier Function:
Skin barrier function is yet another health benefit of chicory root. It helps restructure the skin barrier by acting as an active ingredient. As a result, these extracts prevent skin alterations and effectively maintain homeostasis (16). Chicory root prevents your aging from getting dry.
13. It’s Easy to Include in Your Diet:
Did you know you might be consuming chicory root without even realizing it? Yes! Many packaging foods use this root as an additive. One of the best Chicory benefits is that you can easily add it to your diet. In addition, you can boil and eat it as a vegetable since it is available in many specialty stores. Ground chicory is gaining popularity as a replacement for regular coffee
Side Effects of Chicory Root:
Even a natural ingredient might have a negative effect if not taken in moderate amounts. Here are some of the side effects of using chicory root:
- Chicory root might trigger menstruation and miscarriage and therefore is not recommended for pregnant women. Although there is not enough research, it is safe to avoid Chicory if you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mother.
- Consult your doctor before using chicory root, especially if you are allergic to marigolds, daisies, chrysanthemums, etc. In addition, Chicory is associated with oral allergy syndrome since it can cross-react with birch pollen (17).
- Chicory might cause gallstones in individuals by stimulating bile production.
See Also: Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine
Chicory has medicinal properties and is a fiber-rich root that has been included in many cuisines. It helps you deal with skin-related issues to digestive issues efficiently. However, keep the consumption of Chicory at the limit since consumption in excess might have different effects for different people. If you are unsure, consult a doctor for appropriate dosage before incorporating it into your daily use.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on mere research and not a replacement for a professional opinion. The website is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided.
1. Are there any similarities between psyllium husk and chicory root?
Ans: Psyllium husk is a seed, whereas Chicory is a root. The fibrous characteristics of them are the only similarity between them. You can buy chicory root on Amazon or in any health food store.
2. Is it true that chicory root causes gas?
Ans: According to anecdotal evidence, chicory root might cause bloating and gas since the fiber in the root is broken down by the intestinal bacteria in our body.
3. Is Chicory naturally gluten-free?
Ans: Chicory is naturally gluten-free and is a common ingredient found in cakes, bread, and gluten-free pasta. It is an excellent replacement for coffee.