If you stroll down by a lake or roadside you might notice some mesmerizing blue flowers – chicories. They are not only flowers that you can collect in your vase and enjoy their beauty. These flowers are thought to have great nutritional and medicinal values. Chicory root is used for cooking, making coffee, and supporting the immune system. Chicory benefits can surprise any woods lover. However, like any other plant, it has its side effects. In this article, you will find out the advantages and disadvantages of the chicory herb, and how to use it, so that you would get health benefits from it.
What Are The Side Effects Of Chicory?
Chicory root (Chichorium intybus) is a rich source of a water-soluble fiber called inulin. Chicory inulin is not digestible. However, it can be used to replace dietary fat or sugar in some functional or processed foods (4).
Despite its possible benefits, chicory root has some side effects. They depend on two factors: allergies and the amount of intake. The side effects of chicory are:
- Allergy. People who are allergic to Asteraceae/Compositae family should stay away from chicory herb because it can trigger allergies. Moreover, if you are allergic to birch pollen you’d better avoid using chicory roots. Сhicory consists of compounds that are similar to birch and can trigger problems in the oral cavities of sensitive people.
- Chicory root has inulin and people add this supplement to their diets. However, note that it can cause gassiness, abdominal pains, bloating, and other digestive problems in sensitive individuals.
- Chicory root can stimulate the production of bile in your body. If you have a history of gallbladder disease, you should speak to your doctor before consuming it.
- The use of chicory during pregnancy has not been studied, so we don’t know if it is safe. Always talk to your OB/GYN if you have questions about what is safe during pregnancy or lactation.
Is Chicory Anti-Inflammatory?
The list of possible chicory health benefits is non-surprisingly large. That is why people add it to their food, make coffee with it and use it as medicine.
But many of us wonder whether chicory is anti-inflammatory. Well, sometimes inflammation is essential since our body’s response to inflammation can help us recover from injuries, infections, or tissue problems. But chronic inflammation is associated with several chronic diseases.
According to a test tube study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry chicory root has anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. More to this, it regulates blood sugar levels (5).
Another beneficial thing about chicory root is that it conveys anti-inflammatory qualities.
A small study on humans who were drinking chicory coffee for 1 week found possible antiinflammatory and antithrombotic effects (9).
As you can see, the possible chicory coffee benefits include inflammation reduction. If you’re not a coffee fan then you might still get the benefits from consuming chicory another way.
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Does Chicory Raise Blood Pressure?
Chicory root has been used by people for centuries since it’s a great source of soluble fiber and minerals. Whether it’s a cup of delicious chicory coffee or a yummy salad, you will get a full pack of nutrients that your body needs.
Chicory can act as a prebiotic, which means it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. These bacteria reduce inflammation, improve mineral absorption, and fight harmful bacteria.
People often face stress in their lives or may be prone to high blood pressure. Chicory root may not only improve digestive problems but also lower blood pressure. The soothing effect of the herb is said to ease hysteria and anxiety. It also slows the heart rate making you feel cool and relaxed (3).
Is Chicory Good For Weight Loss?
Chicory root is rich in inulin. Inulin is a soluble prebiotic fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut and also helps you feel full for longer.
A 12-week study in 48 adults with excess weight determined that taking 21 grams per day of chicory-derived oligofructose, led to 2.2-pound (1-kg) average reduction in body weight while the placebo group actually gained weight (10).
One explanation for the weight loss is that the oligofructose decreased the level of ghrelin which is a hormone responsible for hunger. In some processed foods, chicory root is used as fiber which gives you the feeling of satiety. You can find chicory in protein powders, or low-sugar cereals.
Chicory root might help with weight loss by reducing hunger and controlling calorie intake.
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What Are Other Benefits Of Chicory Root?
Chicory root extract is cultivated all around the globe and it is said to have nutritional and medical values. Commonly, people use it for making coffee, since the taste and the color are similar. In foods, chicory leaves are often eaten like celery, and the roots and leaf buds are boiled and eaten (2).
Today you are going to learn top-5 chicory health benefits.
- Healthy digestion. Chicory inulin with its prebiotic qualities passes through your body undigested feeding your gut bacteria, and it supports healthy digestion. Moreover, this fiber can relieve constipation. A 4-week study in 44 adults with constipation showed that taking 12 grams of chicory inulin per day can help soften stool and significantly increase bowel movement frequency, compared with a placebo (6).
- Prevents diabetes. Chicory root fiber may help improve blood sugar control. After the 2-month study in 49 women with type 2 diabetes, it was found that taking 10 grams of inulin per day decreases hemoglobin A1c and blood sugar levels (7).
- Improved brain health. Chicory root contains Vitamin B6 and manganese which are important for brain health. The older you become the more problems with memory and concentration appear. Hence, foods with chicory plant fiber might help support brain function by providing nutrients.
- Might reduce cancer risk. Scientists are exploring the effects of chicory and inulin on cancer. For example, one study found that a chicory extract helped kill breast cancer cells (1).
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How Сan I Use A Chicory Root?
Chicory plant is amazing not only for its possible health benefits but also because it can be added to your diet in many ways:
- If you are a salad-lover then chicory leaves will be a great addition to your salad. The leaves taste delicious when you stir-fry them or use them as a side dish.
- How about baking or poaching chicory heads? You can wrap chicory heads with ham, add your favorite sauce and bake it all together.
- Chicory extracts can be added to alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages to intensify the taste.
- Coffee lovers will be pleased to learn that roasted and ground chicory roots can be coffee bean addition or substitution which has no caffeine whatsoever. Add two tablespoons of ground chicory roots per cup and pour boiled water into it. It is much better if you have a coffee maker. Then you can add ground roots directly to it. There are chicory roots in grocery stores or supermarkets. You can buy the plant, boil it and eat it as a vegetable.
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Chicory is a plant that belongs to the dandelion family. It is rich in soluble fiber and certain vitamins and minerals. The potential chicory root benefits are weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and healthy digestion. Chicory plant can be boiled, baked, or used as a coffee substitution. It can trigger allergic effects in some people. It is advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consult a doctor before consuming a chicory root.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Anti-Cancer Activity of Methanol Extracts of CichoriumIntybus on Human Breast Cancer SKBR3 Cell Line (2017, razavihospital.ir)
- Chicory (2021, rxlist.com)
- Chicory Plant Benefits: How Is Chicory Good For You (2022, gardeningknowhow.com)
- Chicory Root NutritionFacts and Health Benefits (2021, verywellfit.com)
- Cichoric Acid Reverses Insulin Resistance and Suppresses Inflammatory Responses in the Glucosamine-Induced HepG2 Cells (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of consumption of chicory inulin on bowel function in healthy subjects with constipation: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of High Performance Inulin Supplementation on Glycemic Control and Antioxidant Status in Women with Type 2 Diabetes (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Oral Allergy Syndrome: An Update for Stomatologists (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Thrombosis preventive potential of chicory coffee consumption: a clinical study (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Weight loss during oligofructose supplementation is associated with decreased ghrelin and increased peptide YY in overweight and obese adults (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)