Chicory is a root and member of the dandelion family used to soften the flavor of coffee, giving it a woody and nutty taste. Chicory root and seeds are safe for consumption but can cause some gas and bloating if you aren’t used to it, so make sure you increase your chicory intake slowly. What are the health benefits of chicory?
The health benefits of chicory include:
- Helping you get your recommended daily intake of fiber
- Reducing your risk of developing diabetes
- Reducing your risk of obesity
- Reducing symptoms of fatty liver disease
- Increasing your metabolic rate
Chicory plant health benefits are numerous, and some of these can be achieved by drinking chicory coffee (which tastes great, too). Let’s take a look at what the health benefits of chicory are.
Health Benefits of Chicory
Chicory contains a variety of micronutrients
Chicory contains not only carbohydrates and proteins but also several vitamins, minerals, and bioactive phenolic compounds. Phenols are potent antioxidants, preventing oxidative diseases like cancer .
Our body needs many vitamins and minerals to run properly, and chicory (or chicory coffee) can be your ticket to better health!
Chicory root has been used as a treatment for medical conditions
Historically, chicory has been used to treat conditions including digestive problems, insomnia, cancer, and chronic inflammation [2, 3]. Scientific studies have yet to show all of these benefits in controlled studies, but chicory root contains many compounds previously implicated in improving symptoms of these medical problems .
Chicory is high in fiber
Fiber is important for a couple of reasons. It can lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels, preventing high cholesterol and diabetes . It can also help you process the fat in your diet, reducing your cardiovascular disease risk . Fiber feeds your gut bacteria, keeping your digestive system healthy. Fiber is lacking in our current North American diet, which is one of many reasons why we see higher levels of these problems .
Chicory fiber can stimulate metabolism
In studies with pigs, feeding them chicory root triggered several changes in their metabolic cycle, creating downstream changes in their body. Overall, the pigs were less stressed and had better, healthier production of cytoskeletal proteins in their liver . While human clinical studies have not yet been performed, this is a promising start.
Chicory could help you feel less hungry
The biggest barrier to weight loss for many is feeling hungry. The fiber in chicory means it can suppress appetite, reducing your feelings of hunger and desire to snack between meals. Mice fed with chicory displayed higher levels of satiety hormones associated with a feeling of fullness and satisfaction between meals . Chicory could be part of your weight-loss or maintenance arsenal.
Chicory coffee is protective against blood clots
Blood clot formation, also called thrombosis, prevents blood from circulating freely through your body, getting where it is needed. Chicory coffee is rich in plant polyphenols, which can reduce thrombosis risk.
Chicory has some antimicrobial and antiparasitic potential
Tested against Streptococcus mutans bacteria, chicory seems to have some antibacterial potential. While these studies were not performed on a living animal, they suggest that chicory is worth looking into further for its potential as a natural antibiotic and effects on our gut bacteria . Chicory has also been noted to have antiparasitic activity, which has been utilized in livestock feed .
Chicory can reduce symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a potentially fatal condition affecting 100 million Americans . Chicory could be the solution.
Polysaccharides in chicory reduced non-fatty liver disease symptoms in rats eating a high-fat diet and could do the same for humans, too [15, 16, 17]. More research is needed in this area to confirm whether or not this is the case.
A Note of Caution
Chicory is a high-fiber food, and you should ensure you increase your ingestion of this healthy food slowly.
If you have concerns (particularly if you have conditions like IBS or dietary considerations), contact your healthcare professional to see if chicory is a good addition for you. Too much chicory root too soon can cause gastrointestinal distress like bloating and cramping .
In Conclusion, What are the Health Benefits of Chicory?
Have your chicory coffee or add other chicory products to your daily diet to reap the benefits of this root. Chicory can prevent diseases like chronic inflammation, diabetes, and high cholesterol and tastes delicious (like nutty coffee), too.
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