Chicory root comes with a lot of amazing health benefits and some side effects too. If you do love your morning cup of coffee but are troubled about caffeine overdose, chicory root possibly maybe the answer you’re seeking for.
Below are 13 powerful health benefits of Chicory worth knowing as one of the healthiest substitutes for your coffee. So read on to discover more about this super plant.
What Is Chicory Root?
- Scientific name: Cichorium intybus L.
- Origin: Asteraceae,
Since this ancient Egypt Chicory root has been used, it has been a well-liked substitute for coffee in France since the 16th century in its roasted and ground form.
- Chicory root originates from a bushy perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family, called chicory.
- It is characterized by bright blue flowers.
- Chicory root is wood-like and fibrous in nature.
Several varieties of chicory are cultivated for salad leaves which are commonly known as endive or chicons.
Most often the roots are ground into powder form and used for baking, most commonly, as a coffee substitute.
Common Names of Chicory
Below are some common names chicory is also known as;
- blue daisy
- blue dandelion
- blue sailors
- coffee weed
- ragged sailor
- wild bachelor’s buttons
- wild endive
Health Benefits of chicory
The chicory plant eases a variety of diseases. It has also been used as a natural sedative and helps fight kidney disease.
The plant’s buds, roots, and leaves all have huge health benefits.
Chicory root is ground into a powder and is commonly used as a substitute for coffee.
The Chicory health benefits originate from zinc, magnesium, and other nutrients.
Below are 13 health benefits of chicory;
#1. Protective and restructuring effect on the skin
During the process of aging, the human skin undergoes a lot of alterations including dryness, skin barrier function, and damage.
The skin barrier function is very important in the prevention of skin alterations and maintenance of homeostasis.
A study was carried out with an objective to assess the clinical efficacy of the skin barrier function of Cichorium intybus root extract in cosmetic formulations with or without UV filters.
Two groups involving fifty women aged between 45 and 60 years were used for this study. The result showed that Cichorium intybus root extract had both protective and restructuring effects on the skin and stands out as an innovative ingredient to improve skin barrier function. (1)
#2. Assists Digestion
People add chicory to their diets for many beneficial health reasons. One of the most common benefits of chicory is that it helps improve the digestive system.
Chicory plant contains oligosaccharides- enriched inulin, a group of beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut.
The Inulin found in chicory is also known as prebiotic fiber. This type of prebiotic fiber is greatly fermentable by the friendly bacteria in the gut.
Inulin helps fight a host of digestive conditions in your body such as heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
Inulin also helps promote the growth of helpful probiotics in your digestive system and may also enhance calcium absorption.
A condition like acid reflux can increase acid in your system which can result in other diseases. Chicory cuts down these effects of similar conditions, as well.
Due to the amount of inulin, your body is trying to process you may possibly experience gas, bloating, and pain due to fermentation
#3. Reduces Heart Disease
Heart disease stems from multiple factors affecting the cardiovascular system. Chicory is very beneficial for optimizing the function of the digestive system.
It also lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body and curbs the development of atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Atherosclerosis develops as a plaque in the arteries and veins which blocks the flow of blood. This may lead to possible strokes and heart attacks.
Plant phenols found in chicory also work against thrombosis and arrhythmia. The antioxidant properties found in chicory also improve the blood plasma balance in the body, thereby reducing the chance of cardiovascular disease.
#4. Could Help Prevent Cancer
Several studies on cancer patients have used chicory extract to reduce the growth of tumors. Researchers believe this is possible because of the fructans found in chicory. Fructans have both antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.
As a natural remedy, chicory has been helpful in preventing various types of cancer, including breast cancer and skin cancer.
However, medical experts are waiting for more research before promoting it more widely as a treatment.
#5. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Anti-inflammatory properties of Chicory can treat the symptoms of arthritis by reducing the pain associated with these diseases.
Chicory contains plant polyphenols that have the ability to help combat inflammation.
A study that was conducted with 27 healthy volunteers who consumed caffeine-free chicory coffee, a rich source of plant phenols, for one week shown a significant improvement in their red blood cell deformability.
This study describes the body’s ability to respond to inflammation by restoring cells to their original condition.
However, the chicory root does not completely prevent or cure arthritis. The plant works by counteracting sore joints, muscle pains, and body aches.
It enhances the function of red blood cells and reduces inflammation by halting the immune response to repair damaged cells.
#6. Reduces Constipation
Chicory is a source of natural fiber and can help prevent constipation in a few ways.
It acts by bulking up waste in the bowel and triggering the intestines to start motions that promote bowel movements.
This process promotes the release of gastric juices into the digestive tract, improving digestion. When there is improved digestion it results in improved bowel function thus preventing gastrointestinal diseases such as colon cancer.
#7. Helps with Weight Management
Whenever you feel hungry, your body releases an amino acid known as ghrelin. This amino acid is associated with feeling hunger and causes you to crave food, sometimes indiscriminately.
Chicory reduces the amount of ghrelin in your system and helps prevent you from overeating.
It helps you reach a feeling of fullness and satisfaction before you too much. Therefore, taking chicory is an effective approach to weight loss.
The natural dietary fiber in chicory also promotes a well-functioning digestive system which is another solution in maintaining a healthy weight. (2)
#8. Boosts Immune System
Studies have shown some effective antibacterial activities of Chicory extracts. The use of chicory has been found to be effective against some threatening strains of bacteria.
Chicory has the ability to rid the bloodstream of free radicals and harmful toxins. It reduces the chances of contracting some diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
This makes chicory an effective agent for continually strengthening the immune system.
#9. Reduces Anxiety
Chicory as a natural sedative, can reduce anxiety and relieve stress. Its effect furthermore prevents the harmful effects stress and anxiety can have on your body and overall health.
High stress has been linked to some common diseases such as heart disease, reduced cognitive function, and premature aging.
Although, a few medical experts recommend chicory root extract as a sleep aid since it has fewer side effects than conventional sedatives.
#10. Treats Kidney Disorders
Recent studies have shown that the extract of the chicory root increases the frequency of urination. This helps your body get rid of toxins normally stored in the liver and kidneys.
When these toxins are allowed to remain in your body, they can cause other serious conditions and complications.
When you urinate frequently, it also helps get rid of water weight and reduces fat.
#11. Treats Eye Defects
Chicory is a rich source of vitamin A. As a supplement, it is needed to maintain the health and function of your eyes as well as the muscular system.
Other rich sources of vitamin A are Carrot, celery, and parsley juice as well as chicory juice. Apart from promoting healthy eyesight, chicory also corrects eye defects.
#12. May Prevent Thrombosis
Caffeine-free chicory coffee is a great source of plant phenolics, including caffeic acid, which inhibits in vitro platelet aggregation.
The protective effects of plant polyphenol intake on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are widely recognized.
A study was done to assess whether chicory coffee consumption might confer cardiovascular benefits. This clinical intervention study was performed with 27 healthy volunteers, who consumed 300 mL of chicory coffee every day for 1 week.
An assessment from this study showed a significant improvement in red blood cell deformability. This offers an encouraging starting point to delineate the antithrombotic and antiinflammatory effects of phenolic compounds found in chicory coffee. (4)
#13. May Prevent or Delay the Onset of Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the major diseases in the United States. One in seven Americans has diabetes, and a lot of people don’t even know they have the blood sugar disease, a new report shows.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fourteen percent of U.S adults have diabetes.
There are many natural ways to manage and treat diabetes, and it starts with diet.
An addition of chicory to a diabetic diet plan may be a good way to help prevent or treat this all too common medical condition.
Recent studies suggest that chicory root extract could delay or prevent the early onset of diabetes and can as well improve bowel movements due to the fibrous makeup. (3)
Nutrition Facts of Chicory root
One raw Chicory root, which is about 60 grams, contains approximately:
- 44 Calories
- 10.5 grams of Carbohydrates
- 0.8 gram of Protein
- 0.1 gram of Fat
- 0.9 gram of Fiber
- 0.1 milligram of Vitamin B6
- 0.1 milligram of Manganese
- 3.0 milligrams of Vitamin C
- 74 milligrams of Potassium
Chicory root has been shown to have amazing health benefits such as; reduce stress, contain anti-inflammatory properties, protect the liver, possibly prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, help manage osteoarthritis, aid gut health, and relieve constipation.
Chicory root contains inulin which is classified as soluble and a prebiotic, as a soluble fiber, it can hold water and thicken or gel up, which can add bulk to foods.
However, if you’re interested in taking chicory roots, consult a medical professional to make sure it’s right for you.
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