The blue-flowered chicory plant of the dandelion family provides the root used in chicory. It has been used for ages as a food and medicine, but nowadays most people use it to make a substitute for coffee. Many people believe the root’s fiber can help them in a variety of ways. Water-soluble fiber, or inulin, is abundant in chicory root (Chichorium intybus). Several prepared and nutritional foods use indigestible chicory inulin in place of fat or sugar. A food’s calorie count can be reduced by using inulin as an alternative to sugar or fat.
Chicory root is used to make a bitter coffee replacement. There are parts of the United States where people are starting to drink coffee made from chicory roots. Chicory comes from the dandelion family and is known for its vivid blue blossoms. For usage as a coffee ingredient or replacement, chicory root is often powdered and sifted into chicory root extract. Both the leaves and the seeds can be utilized in cooking. As a result of its high polyphenol and soluble dietary fiber content, the chicory plant as a whole is beneficial to health. The soluble fiber found in chicory roots makes them an excellent source of prebiotics.
What are the medical advantages of chicory root?
Chicory root has been linked to a range of medical advantages, in addition to the fact that its flavor has been described as having an earthy quality that many people find appealing. It is believed that the prebiotic properties of inulin are responsible for the majority of chicory root’s positive health effects. It is a type of soluble fiber that is resistant to breakdown by the digestive enzymes in our bodies.
Following are the health benefits
Containing high levels of the prebiotic fiber inulin
The dry weight of fresh chicory root contains an inulin content that is 68% of the total. Inulin is a form of fiber that is also known as a fructan. A fructan is a carb that is formed from a thin wire of fructose atoms and is not digested by the human body. It nourishes the good bacteria that are already present in your digestive tract. These beneficial bacteria contribute to the reduction of irritation, the elimination of pathogenic bacteria, and the enhancement of mineral intake. So, the fiber included in chicory root may be beneficial to gut health in many different ways. Inulin is the primary component of chicory root, and as a prebiotic, it fosters the development of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
Possible assistance for bowel function
Chicory root fiber may aid digestion because the inulin it contains goes through the digestive process largely undigested and is instead used as food by the beneficial bacteria in your gut. For instance, inulin has been shown in tests to alleviate constipation. After 4 weeks, 44 persons with constipation who took 12 grams of chicory inulin daily had softer stools and more frequent bowel movements than those who took a placebo. A daily intake of 10 grams of chicory inulin raised the number of bowel movements from four to five per week on average in research including 16 persons with low stool frequency. Further research on chicory inulin pills is needed, however, the fiber it contains is already being studied. Chicory root fiber contains inulin, which may reduce constipation and cause a greater frequency of bowel movements.
Possibility of better glucose management
There is some evidence that the fiber found in chicory roots can help diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels. Some researchers believe this is because inulin increases insulin levels and the number of good bacteria in the gut that break down carbohydrates into sugars. Muscle activity of the enzyme is improved in mouse experiments by chemicals found in chicory root fiber. Blood glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c, a test of average blood sugar, dropped significantly in a 2-month study of 49 diabetics who took 10 grams of inulin daily compared to the women who took a placebo. High-performance inulin, the type employed in this research, is a common sugar substitute used in many common foods and beverages. Compared to other varieties of inulin, its chemical composition is unique. Thus, more study on chicory root fiber is required.
Possible aid in weight reduction
It has been suggested that the fiber in chicory roots can help control hunger and cut down on calorie consumption, which could result in weight loss. Levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin were also observed to be reduced thanks to oligofructose in this investigation. Similar findings have been seen in other studies, albeit those studies did not specifically examine chicory root fiber but rather supplements containing inulin or oligofructose. Though additional research is needed, it shows promise as a weight loss treatment by suppressing hunger and cutting calorie consumption.
Decreases the development of cancer
Some research has linked chicory root to lowering cancer risk. Several studies have shown that chicory can aid in the destruction of breast cancer cells. A second study found that inulin could help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Promotes healthier brain function
The manganese and vitamin B6 found in chicory root are also beneficial to cognitive ability. The importance of maintaining brain health increases with age since it becomes increasingly difficult to focus and remember things.
Possible Stress-Relieving Effects
It has not yet been determined whether chicory root directly alleviates stress. Nonetheless, its flavor makes it a common ingredient in beverages that can stand in for coffee. Excessive caffeine use has been linked to an increase in stress levels. Using caffeine regularly, on top of already high-stress levels, might exacerbate existing problems.
Maybe Good for Your Liver
According to a study conducted on rats, chicory extract can prevent oxidative harm to the liver. But, if taken in large enough quantities (at levels of 200 mg per kg of body weight), it may promote liver failure. An Egyptian research team discovered that chicory extract protected rat liver cells from oxidative damage. Taken with celery leaves, the combination may help alleviate the discomfort associated with some liver conditions.
What are the adverse effects of chicory root?
The usage of chicory root in food and medicine dates back millennia and is seen to be secure for most individuals. But if you eat too much of it, you can end up feeling bloated and gassy from all the fiber. Sometimes, manufacturers of packaged meals and supplements will chemically change the inulin they employ to increase its sweetness. “Native inulin” is the term commonly used to describe inulin that has not been altered in any way. There is some evidence that eating native inulin may be easier on the digestive system and result in less gas and discomfort than eating other varieties of inulin. Researchers generally use a daily dose of 10 grams of inulin, but some studies suggest a better susceptibility for both native and modified inulin.
Chicory root fiber has not yet had a defined authorized suggested dosage. You should talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. Because of the lack of data on the security of chicory in pregnant and breastfeeding women, it’s best to talk to a doctor before giving it a try. Finally, those who are sensitive to ragweed or birch pollen should stay away from chicory. It’s likely safe to take chicory in food levels. If you want to try chicory root, you shouldn’t have any problems. Nevertheless, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and digestive noises may occur in certain persons. Also, the safety of chicory consumption during pregnancy has not been confirmed by research, thus pregnant women may wish to skip this vegetable or see their doctor before doing so.
How to incorporate chicory root into your diet?
You may easily increase your fiber intake by eating chicory root. It is occasionally used as an ingredient in packaged goods, so you may already be eating it without realizing it. As inulin has gelling qualities and a slightly sweet flavor. But, it also has a place in the kitchen. The whole root can be found in some supermarkets and health food stores, and it is commonly prepared as a vegetable by boiling it. Moreover, cooked and ground chicory root can be used as a substitute for coffee if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine.
Coffee can be made with ground chicory root by substituting 2 tablespoons (ten grams) for every cup (240 ml) of water in a coffee machine. Inulin, produced from chicory root, is now widely available as dietary supplements, both online and in health food stores. The uncooked chicory root’s carbs and fiber levels are strongly impacted by the times of planting and harvesting. Hence, the precise carb and fiber composition of the uncooked chicory roots you may get at a grocery store is difficult to ascertain. Chicory root extract, instead of raw chicory root, may be preferable for those on a ketogenic diet who want to limit their sugar consumption while still reaping the advantages of the chicory root’s prebiotic (i.e., inulin). When following a keto diet, chicory root extract is acceptable because it does not count as a carbohydrate.
The Bottom Line
Chicory root fiber is an inulin-rich byproduct of the dandelion family of plants. Some of the health advantages associated with this include better management of blood sugar and gastrointestinal issues. chicory root can also be used as a viable coffee replacement. The fiber in chicory root can be consumed by boiling the whole root and eating it with a meal or by making chicory root coffee. Put ground chicory in a sealed jar like you would coffee to maintain its freshness. When refrigerated in a plastic bag, chicory for salad will keep for a week or so.
Keeping it wrapped in a damp paper towel will keep it fresh for longer. You can keep chicory roots for a long time. Aside from being a good source of fiber, chicory roots also contain many active chemicals with therapeutic value. For ages, cooks have relied on these roots as flavor enhancers. Chicory roots have been linked to a variety of health advantages, including enhancements to digestive function, and reduction of inflammatory joint pain. This root can be used in numerous ways to enhance your diet. Conversely, excessive chicory root eating has been linked to miscarriages, periods, and allergies. As a result, moderation is key, and in cases of overuse, medical attention is required.