Chicory is a plant with bluish flowers of the Asteraceae family. One of the uses for chicory root is as a substitute for coffee. For this, it is first dried, then ground, and roasted.
Among the main properties and benefits of chicory is the presence of antioxidants, natural prebiotics, and that it does not contain caffeine.
Unlike coffee, chicory relaxes the central nervous system and does not stimulate it. In addition, one of its benefits is its positive effect on the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
This article describes chicory’s benefits, properties, uses, and contraindications.
Chicory – proerties and uses
In traditional medicine, chicory powder is used to treat digestive problems, internal bleeding, bloating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
The plant components that make up chicory root have hepaprotective, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, among others. In addition, the alcoholic extracts of the plant have potential uses as a treatment for malaria. (3)
One of the properties of chicory is to help control fasting blood glucose (2).
Among other benefits, hepaprotective, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties can be observed. So one of its uses is as a treatment for people with digestion disorders.
Chicory benefits for health
Most of the beneficial properties of chicory are determined by the presence of inulin, an indigestible polysaccharide. This substance is also found in agave syrup and Jerusalem artichoke. (1) (2)
Chicory will be especially beneficial for people with diabetes. One of its components, inulin, can regulate blood sugar levels.
Inulin is a type of fiber that positively affects the growth of the population of bacteria with properties and benefits for the health of the intestine. So it can be said that one of its uses is as a prebiotic. The benefits of chicory are:
- Improve bowel function
- Improve liver function
- Regulate insulin levels
- Has antimicrobial properties
- Has antioxidant properties
Damages and contraindications
Before buying chicory powder, you need to ensure that it does not contain maltodextrin or sugar carefully. In some cases, they are added to sweeten or lower the cost.
Since the drink can stimulate bile production, it is contraindicated in cases of urolithiasis and cholelithiasis.
Chicory also lowers blood pressure, which may be contraindicated for people taking blood pressure medications.
Chicory is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women and people with intolerance to its active components.
Is it reasonable to take chicory?
Remember that not all of the above properties are manifested when drinking beverages made with chicory powder.
Scientific studies attribute some of its benefits to the alcoholic extracts of the plant, which have a significantly higher concentration of its components. (2,3,4)
For example, the inulin in chicory only partially passes into the drink; most of it remains in the powder discarded after preparation.
Despite this, a cup of chicory with milk for breakfast can be considered an alternative with better benefits than coffee, and a naturally sweet taste, which does not affect insulin levels in the blood.
Chicory – how and how much to take?
Studies suggest that the health benefits of chicory are manifested by consuming about 3-5 g of inulin per day (4).
Since chicory powder contains 10-30% of this substance, approximately 10-30 g of powder is needed per day, the equivalent of 2-6 tablespoons.
Taking chicory as a substitute for coffee is considered safe. If you want to obtain its health benefits, instead of taking infusions, it is recommended to take it in the form of dietary supplements (in tablets or capsules. The dose recommended by the manufacturers is about 10 grams per day.
Can you have chicory at night?
Since chicory drinks do not contain caffeine, they can be consumed in the evening. It does not stimulate the central nervous system and does not cause sleep problems such as insomnia. Also, due to a possible drop in blood pressure, the drink can relax, helping you fall asleep faster.
Chicory is a plant with numerous properties and health benefits. One of its uses for root powder is as a substitute for coffee.
Inulin, the polysaccharide in its composition, does not increase glucose in the blood.
The benefits of chicory are best manifested when taken in dietary supplements and not in the form of an aqueous extract or beverages.