9 Amazing Chicory Root Benefits You Need To Know
Chicory root is bitter, and when blended, carries the same roasted and nutty notes of coffee. It doesn’t contain caffeine, making it a great coffee-like alternative.
Continue reading to find out if your morning cup of joe is due for a nutty upgrade.
In this article:
- Chicory Root Nutritional Facts
- Chicory Root Health Benefits
- Other Health Benefits of Chicory Roots
- Other Things to Note About Chicory Root
RELATED: 10 Healthy Carbs To Add To Your Diet
Chicory Root Health Benefits to Get Excited About
Chicory Root Nutritional Facts
One serving of chicory root (1 root, 60 g) contains the following carbs, proteins, vitamins, and minerals:
DV – recommended Daily Value assuming a 2,000 calorie per day diet (for adults and children over 4 years old)
- Total carbohydrates: 10.5 g (4% of DV)
- Protein: 0.8 g (2% of DV)
- Vitamin C: 3.0 mg (5% of DV)
- Niacin: 0.2 mg (1% of DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (7% of DV)
- Folate: 13.8 mcg (3% of DV)
- Pantothenic acid: 0.2 mg (2% of DV)
- Calcium: 24.6 mg (2% of DV)
- Iron: 0.5 mg (3% of DV)
- Magnesium: 13.2 mg (3% of DV)
- Phosphorus: 36.6 mg (4% of DV)
- Potassium: 174 mg (5% of DV)
- Sodium: 30 mg (1% of DV)
- Zinc: 0.2 mg (1% of DV)
- Manganese: 0.1 mg (7% of DV)
Chicory coffee brands generally recommend a serving size of two teaspoons alone or added to coffee. Unfortunately, this won’t be enough to get you a sizeable nutrient boost. Still, these nutrients aren’t the only thing you’ll want from chicory root. The root has much more to offer than a nutty taste.
The most important component of the chicory root is inulin.
Chicory Root Health Benefits
1. May Support Digestive Health
Inulin is a widely studied prebiotic, which is food for probiotics, the good bacteria in your guts.
Inulin as a prebiotic may stimulate the growth of good bacteria, which is believed to promote good digestive health.
Maintaining a healthy gut can improve overall health, support digestive function, and help the body fend off illnesses.
2. May Support Overall Bone Health
Many animal studies find that inulin-type fructans improved the absorption and retention of both magnesium and calcium.
This makes inulin a promising resource in nutrition that may promote bone health. It may help hinder bone loss as well as improve bone formation and density. Inulin may prove to be beneficial in keeping age-related osteoporosis at bay.
3. May Keep Colon Cancer at Bay
Numerous animal experiments provide evidence that inulin-type fructans possess chemopreventive activities.
According to studies, the products of the inulin fermentation (butyrate) protect cells. It may also be because inulin stimulates the growth of bifidobacteria (probiotic) which itself is antigenotoxic.
Inulin may also carry anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent colon cancer and other diseases.
In addition to feeding good bacteria, inulin is found to create a healthy and protected environment in the gut.
4. May Help Prevent Diabetes
Inulin may promote weight loss and help shed fat, which may lessen the risk of diabetes.
Diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance. Studies show that inulin may moderate tolerance to insulin, potentially making it an effective diabetes treatment.
A study with women with type 2 diabetes found that inulin supplements may help regulate glycemic status and lipid profile. However, more studies are required before concluding that inulin can be considered as an adequate diabetes treatment.
Inulin may prove to be beneficial to both prediabetic and diabetic patients. Recent studies have used high-performance inulin and not all types of inulin may not produce the same results. Further research will be required to determine if inulin indeed has therapeutic potential for diabetes patients.
RELATED: 10 Healthy Carbs To Add To Your Diet
5. May Cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Multiple animal studies show that inulin has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent diseases including chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In a small study, researchers found that inulin decreased Chron’s disease activity in subjects that took inulin.
More human studies with larger sample sizes must be conducted, but this shows the great potential of inulin as a powerful prebiotic.
6. May Help With Constipation
Inulin is also a good source of fiber which may also support digestive function. It was found to help relieve constipation in patients that took inulin for four weeks.
Another study provides evidence that it may also help improve bowel function, softening the stool and relieving constipation. This may help strengthen the role of inulin as a potent prebiotic.
Other Health Benefits of Chicory Roots
7. May Be a Good Source of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber
Prebiotic dietary fibers are also widely accepted to increase mineral absorption and plays a role in the strength of our immune system.
The FDA has recently approved the classification of inulin as a dietary fiber. Inulin is typically called chicory root extract on food labels.
Because inulin is non-digestible, it’s able to make its way to the gut and stimulates beneficial bacteria in the colon. Research on inulin as a prebiotic dietary fiber supports the need to introduce prebiotics into the Western diet.
Prebiotics such as inulin is very beneficial to overall health.
8. May Help You Lose Weight
In a study involving 44 participants, those that took inulin lost more weight over nine weeks.
Another study with overweight patients found that introducing inulin directly into the colon may help prevent weight gain and growth of abdominal fat.
Researchers also provide evidence that oligofructose may suppress ghrelin, which increases the appetite.
9. May Possess Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Animal studies provide evidence that chicory root may possess antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
One study found that pigs that were given a 4% chicory diet showed decreased inflammation.
Inflammation is an automatic response to things that are body is intolerant to. Chicory root extract may help combat chronic inflammation that leads to disease.
Other Things to Note About Chicory Root
Chicory root possesses many health benefits, but it also has some downsides.
- Chicory root is a prebiotic dietary fiber. Fiber is a two-edged sword that while supports digestive function, can also cause bloating. If you are following a low FODMAP diet, steer clear of chicory root.
- It is also a known allergen.
- There is no recommended daily dosage for chicory root or inulin. Consult with your doctor before adding this to your diet. Otherwise, start out slow and increase the dosage over time.
The health benefits of chicory root extend beyond the digestive tract. It can help prevent chronic diseases through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may even help prevent diabetes and obesity by supporting weight management.
Whether you’re after the nutty and roasted to satisfy your palette or are looking to supplement your diet, chicory root just might be the thing for you.
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