3 Chicory Root Benefits That Might Surprise You

You may not know chicory root, but you’ll likely recognize its periwinkle-blue flowers. Let’s take a look at the benefits of chicory root fiber, the side effects of chicory root extract, and why some people use it as a coffee substitute.

What is chicory root?

A relative of dandelions, chicory (or Cichorium intybus) is a wildflower that blooms abundantly along paths and in meadows throughout the summer. The use of chicory root and leaves dates back to ancient Egypt and, since then, its presence in herbalism, as well as in cooking, has only grown.

Its long, toothed leaves look and taste similar to dandelion leaves and are used raw in salads with vegetables such as endive or chicory. They are also usually stewed to control their bitterness.

Although prebiotic chicory root extract or supplements are more common, some European countries eat chicory root as a vegetable. Chicory root looks like a parsnip and The ancient Greeks and Romans grew it as a vegetablealso.

Benefits of Chicory Root

Chicory root isolate

Like maca root and rhodiola rosea, chicory root is used in herbalism for several reasons. Research studies validate some of the traditional uses of chicory, attributed primarily to its unique fiber content, but note that more research is needed.

1. Chicory root contains prebiotic fiber

Due to the bitter compounds in chicory root and the relatively high amount of prebiotic fiber inulin (a type of resistant starch), research has associated it with a wide range of benefits. One of the most popular among them is digestive healthExplain Liz WyosnickMS, RDN.

Chicory root has one of the highest amounts of inulin compared to other foods, Wyosnick says. Inulin is a prebiotic., making it an excellent food source for beneficial intestinal bacteria. Jerusalem artichoke comes in second for inulin, but fiber is also found in foods such as leeks, onions, asparagus, and garlic.

Like insoluble fiber (the kind found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains), inulin has a “volume effect” in the stool, which can make it softer and easier to pass. Therefore, chicory root fiber and other types of prebiotic fiber may help prevent occasional constipation.

2. Chicory root and weight control*

All that fiber leads to another benefit of chicory root. Fiber (including inulin), along with protein, is thought to help you feel fuller longer, making it a great part of a healthy weight management strategy.

3. Chicory root can be used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute.

Isolated image of grounded chicory root

This benefit of chicory root is tasty and can help you reduce your caffeine intake. “Chicory root is often used as a coffee substitute because it has a bitter taste and color comparable to black coffee, and it does not contain caffeine,” says Wyosnick.

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, you may have paired a beignet with chicory coffee, made with roasted chicory root. Chicory root coffee began out of necessity as a way to expand the limited supply of coffee beans.

Young chicory roots are slightly bitter, with a touch of caramel flavor, similar to coffee. Chicory roots are roasted, ground, and then brewed like coffee.

The only drawback to preparing chicory root this way: you don’t get the fiber.

Chicory Root Side Effects

While more fiber is usually a good thing, you should take it easy, especially with the inulin found in chicory root. Chicory root is generally safe, but first-time users may experience the following symptoms:

  • Gas
  • swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • abdominal cramp
  • increased urine

“The inulin within the bitter compound of ground chicory root is well disguised and you can easily consume enough to cause digestive upset,” warns Wyosnick. “Chicory root is also considered by some to be a mild diuretic and may cause you to urinate more, so it is important to drink plenty of water if you consume a drink or food containing chicory root.”

As with any fiber supplement, start small and build up, and drink plenty of water along the way.

Where to find chicory root

You can find whole chicory root in specialty grocery stores, and chicory root coffee or tea is usually available in regular supermarkets (Coffee of the world It is a popular brand).

Chicory root supplements are available in health food stores, larger supermarkets, some pharmacies, and online.

But before purchasing any supplement, consider these questions: How is the supplement produced? Is it processed without harmful solvents or other additives? Does the company have a good reputation? Are they making claims that sound too good to be true?

Keep in mind that supplement companies must meet industry standards for their claims, which are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And always be sure to talk to your doctor about any supplement you’re considering.

Here are some chicory root products available on Amazon:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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