While it has gained popularity in recent years, chicory root has been around for many centuries. People who are trying to reduce their caffeine intake often turn to chicory root, but it is more than just a coffee replacement. A cup of hot chicory root tastes just like a fresh cup of coffee, but that’s not the only thing that should impress you. It has been known to improve digestive health, reduce inflammation, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
What Is Chicory Coffee?
The chicory plant belongs to the dandelion family and has a fuzzy stem with light purple flowers. The origination of replacing coffee with chicory root dates back to 1800s, when there was a coffee shortage in France. Before that, chicory root was brewed into a tea and used for its medicinal properties. People with jaundice, gout, rheumatism, or an enlarged liver commonly consumed chicory root tea.
One thing to note about chicory root is that it is caffeine-free. People have classically ground up 2 tablespoons of chicory root and steeped it in one cup of water. In present day, chicory root powder is readily available. It is a great coffee replacement and can deliver the following benefits.
Chicory root has an incredible ability to protect the liver against possible toxicity and free radical damage. According to a 2015 medical review, the natural antioxidants in chicory root were able to boost the body’s defense system and simultaneously cleanse the liver.
As you may know by now, chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Several studies have found that chicory root may possess anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have concluded that chicory root’s polyphenols can help decrease inflammation levels, but more research needs to be done on humans for concrete findings.
If you are easily stressed or have excess levels of cortisol in the body, caffeine can only worsen the issue. In fact, a 2006 study found that repeated caffeine consumption combined with high stress levels significantly increased cortisol levels. Because chicory root does not contain caffeine, it may be the coffee replacement you need to reduce stress and normalize cortisol levels.
Gut Health Hero
Chicory root is rich in a prebiotic known as oligosaccharide-enriched inulin, also referred to as prebiotic fiber. It is easily fermented by healthy bacteria in the gut and it contributes to the healthy growth of probiotics. Inulin, or chicory root fiber, is commonly found in probiotic supplements! It is best to not go overboard with chicory root because it can lead to excess fermentation, which can trigger gas or upset stomach.
It May Not Be For You
We understand that you may be looking for a coffee alternative, but chicory root is not for everyone. Due to the aforementioned gas and upset stomach side effects, some people avoid chicory root. You should absolutely avoid it if you are allergic to ragweed or birch pollen. Additionally, chicory root is not recommended for pregnant women because it could trigger menstrual bleeding and miscarriage.
Chicory root can be a great coffee substitute, especially if you are looking to cut down on caffeine consumption. Weigh the pros and cons and try it out; you might like it a lot! And one last thing…the featured picture of this article is what a cup of chicory root coffee looks like.