Found in a vibrant plant belonging to the dandelion family, chicory root can often be overlooked due to its flowery exterior, but underneath the blue blossom is a beneficial fibre that can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways.
Native to Europe and Asia, the herb plant can reach heights of 180cm tall and features branching stalks, concealing the all-important root fibre with its unsuspecting appearance.
What Is Chicory Root?
Chicory root is a widely versatile ingredient that can feature in many different products, including our Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Dark Roast coffee.
For at least 5,000 years, chicory has primarily been grown for its roots, with some uses also found in its leaves, but its taste and inulin-rich nature mean the root fibre is the most sought-after component.
The taste of chicory root alone is far from a pleasant one, so it is usually mixed with other natural ingredients to create supplements or a drink.
It is used for its various benefits, including increased digestive health and lowered blood sugar levels, as well as being consumed due to its mineral make-up of potassium, calcium and vitamin C.
How Is It Used?
Chicory roots were first made known in Ancient Egypt, where people used the root for different reasons such as for its diuretic and laxative properties and to improve their liver and heart health, as well as for treating fevers.
It has since been used for centuries in traditional medicine, being added to a whole host of other ingredients to create remedies for all kinds of ailments.
It has also been used as a coffee alternative, such as in our Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Dark Roast, as it has both a similar taste when ground down and colour, so it became a popular option during the coffee shortage in the 1800s.
You can even add chicory roots to meals whilst cooking for an added source of fibre and nutrition in your food without even realising it’s there.
The Science Behind It
Chicory roots are useful for a range of reasons, helping the human body in many different ways, all because of the properties it possesses.
Inulin is a soluble fibre found within the chicory tap root, a type of prebiotic fibre that feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut and can be beneficial to your body in lots of ways, including improving digestion and regulating metabolism.
You can read more about Inulin in our blog ‘What Is Inulin & Why Is It Good For You?’ to learn about its different benefits and uses.
Our Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Dark Roast featuring chicory root supports your gut microbiome, digestion and liver health alongside the natural energy boost without suffering from a caffeine comedown.
Its positive benefits make it a great addition to your life and you can drink up to 5 cups of it a day to ensure you absorb all the natural nutrition included.
Chicory root also contains a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium and calcium, all of which are great to include in your daily diet.
It’s important to know what the benefits associated with chicory root are so that you can assess if it’s a suitable addition to your diet.
Many of its uses have been proven through clinical trials and tests, but there are some under-tested claims that have no empirical evidence as of yet.
Chicory root has been linked to reducing inflammation due to featuring the protein cytokine which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of health problems and is often a common underlying factor in many chronic diseases, so consuming chicory root is useful in reducing the risks for individuals who do suffer from these conditions.
Including chicory root in your life, whether it be through drinking it or eating it, can help support your overall health and well-being.
Its highly nutritious properties mean that it can boost your health in a variety of ways, including through its phytochemicals, alkaloids and volatile oils.
Promotes Good Bacteria
As 68% of chicory root is comprised of inulin, it plays a large factor in its benefits, including feeding the good bacteria stored in the gut.
This is particularly beneficial as the good bacteria can do lots for your body in itself, including improving regularity, reducing constipation and decreasing bloating and gas.
Inulin has also been shown to promote feelings of fullness and satiety, linking to weight loss and management as the desire to eat is widely reduced.
Improved Liver Function
Chicory root has the ability to detox the liver, meaning that it can significantly reduce oxidative stress which could be detrimental if not addressed.
It has also been found to prevent cell damage and improve conditions within the liver, improving liver function and reducing the risk of liver damage, particularly in people who suffer from liver disease.
Controlled Blood Pressure
As chicory root is a rich source of potassium, it helps maintain a healthy blood pressure level whilst also reducing the risk of heart disease.
Potassium acts to relax the walls of blood vessel walls, enabling your blood pressure to decrease.
Chicory root also features calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth, benefiting the strength and health of both.
You might be used to being told to drink milk as a child to improve your teeth and bones, but chicory does the same thing, even when consumed in its ground, coffee-like form.
How To Include It In Your Diet
If the long list of benefits is enticing you to try chicory root and witness the impact it has on your body for yourself, then you might be wondering what the best ways to include it in your diet are.
One of the most common methods is to use it as a coffee substitute and you can even roast and grind the roots yourself – if you don’t fancy doing a bit of DIY, you can buy our Organic Chicory & Cordyceps Dark Roast from our online shop.
It can also be added into other foods and beverages so that you can still take advantage of its wonderful benefits, including using it as a thickening agent in soups and stews or as a flavouring agent in baked goods.
If you are prone to ragweed allergies or are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, it’s imperative that you do not use chicory root as you are likely to be allergic to it.
Additionally, it’s best to check with your doctor about using chicory root if you are on certain medications as it could negatively affect or react with them.
While it may not be for everyone, it is a great option for people who are looking for a healthy and tasty way to boost their overall well-being.