Chicory is a woody plant that is commonly grown in the United States. The herbaceous plant is also cultivated in the Mediterranean areas in Europe. The leaves, bud, and the roots of this plant have a wealth of health benefits. The root is often ground into a powder which is used as a coffee substitute.
Chicory root has been used for several years as a herbal remedy for various health defects. Studies have found out that chicory is a great source of several nutrients including vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, and iron among many others. The vitamins include vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K. These nutrients are the agents behind the health benefits of the Chicory Root Fiber.
Health Benefits Of Chicory Root Fiber
1. Digestive Support
Chicory root is rich in inulin which is prebiotic. The inulin found in chicory root is highly fermentable by the friendly bacteria that reside in the gut. Prebiotics help promote the growth of helpful probiotics in the gut.
Prebiotics also promote calcium absorption from the digestive system into the blood. Inulin can help combat several bowel disorders such as heartburn, acid reflux disease, and indigestion. The oligosaccharide-enriched compound works by reducing the acid level in the stomach. A study that was published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition revealed that the consumption of chicory root may help relieve constipation.
2. Protects The Liver
The antioxidant effect of the chicory root helps safeguard the liver against the toxicity of chemical-induced free radicals found in the body. A study that was performed by scientists from the Zoology Department at Mansoura University in Egypt concluded that chicory root could prevent oxidative stress and liver damage.
The ability of chicory root to protect the liver against oxidative stress was reviewed in a 2015 medical review; it found out that pretreatment with chicory root extract reduced cell damage and prevented oxidative stress. The study concluded that chicory root is high in natural antioxidants that help scavenge reactive free radicals in the body.
3. Cancer Prevention
Studies have linked chicory root to the reduction in the growth of cancer cells in the body. However, more research is being conducted to diagnose the exact mechanism of cancer prevention.
Early studies indicate that chicory root contains fructans which have antitumor and anticancer activity. Chicory also contains phytochemicals and polyphenols which can prevent the development of various cancers including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
4. Management Of Osteoarthritis
The Rheumatic Diseases Division at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine conducted a study to determne the effect of chicory root on arthritic symptoms. The study concluded that chicory root has anti-inflammatory properties that may help improve the symptoms that present with osteoarthritis.
The researchers administered chicory root extract to individuals over the age of 50 who had been diagnosed with the musculoskeletal disease. A majority of the patients showed a 20% improvement in response to stiffness and pain.
5. Management Of Diabetes
Chicory may be an excellent addition to the diet plan of diabetic patients. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, the intake of chicory improves the level of adiponectin in diabetic patients.
Adiponectin is a protein that is involved in the regulation of blood glucose levels. The study concluded that chicory root extract could be used to prevent the early onset of diabetes. The high fibrous content of the herbaceous plant may also help improve the bowel movements.
6. Reduce Stress Levels
Caffeine has shown to exacerbate stress in individuals who are already suffering from a stress disorder. Caffeine is the primary ingredient in coffee. Studies show that consuming less caffeine may lower the levels of cortisol and epinephrine in the body. According to a study that was published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, regular consumption of caffeine could elevate the blood levels of cortisol hormone.
Chicory does not contain caffeine. The powdered form of chicory root can be used as a caffeine substitute to help lower the levels of cortisol in the blood. Reduced levels of cortisol are associated with decreased stress levels.
Possible Side Effects Associated With Chicory Root
According to WebMD, chicory root is likely safe for adults who consume it in regular amounts found in food. It is also possibly safe for most adults who take it orally in medicinal quantities. However, handling chicory root extract may cause some dermatological problems such as skin irritation.
Chicory root extract may also lower the desire to eat food. According to wellness.com, the reduction in appetite may even cause weight loss. However, this side effect is temporary and will subside as the body gets used to chicory.
WebMD discourages the consumption of large amounts of chicory in pregnant mothers. The extract may induce menstruation and cause a miscarriage in pregnant women. There is no sufficient evidence on the effect of chicory root extract in breastfeeding women.
Chicory root extract may also cause an allergic reaction in individuals who are allergic to other medicinal plants that belong to the Asteraceae family. The medicinal plants that belong to this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, and daisies. Individuals who are allergic to these herbs should consult with a healthcare provider before using chicory root extract.
Chicory may also induce the production of bile. Increased levels of bile could cause problems to people with gallstones.
Top Products Containing Chicory Root Fiber
1. Organic Chicory Root Raw C/S
The product is manufactured by Starwest Botanicals. It contains 453 grams (1Ib) of organic chicory root extract. The product has an overall review of 3.4 stars out of a possible of five stars. It is sold at $24.
2. Frontier Natural Products Organic Roasted Chicory Root Granules
The primary ingredient in this product is the chicory root granules. It is the best substitute for caffeine, and it helps reduce the stress levels in the body. Frontier Natural Products Organic Roasted Chicory Root Granules has an overall review of 4.6 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon. It is sold at $15.77.
3. Starwest Botanicals Chicory Root Roasted Granules
The product contains 1Ib of chicory root extract which is packaged in a mylar bag. The product has an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon. Its price is $10.44.
Chicory Root Fiber Final Thoughts
Chicory root has a wealth of health benefits. The herbaceous plant has been shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells, delay the onset of diabetes, promote a healthy liver, and help manage several disorders such as constipation, stress, and osteoarthritis. Despite the several health benefits, chicory root also has some side effects such as allergic reaction, reduced appetite, and dermatitis. But some of these side effects will subside as one gets used to chicory.