Chicory root is one of the healthiest, yet unpopular, roots from a plant that has bright blue flowers. These roots have a plethora of health benefits that can be used in our daily dietary requirements.
Chicory root has a nutritious fiber which is called inulin, which like other fibers, is not easily digested in the body. Due to this, it helps the body in removing all the unnecessary fat and sugar. The water-soluble inulin fiber makes chicory root one of the most beneficial food products to live a long and healthy life.
In places like France and Japan, chicory root has been used as an alternative to bitter coffee which is gaining momentum in the US.
What are the benefits of Chicory Root?
- Has large amounts of inulin:
A chicory root contains 68% of inulin, which helps in revitalizing your body, as mentioned earlier. Inulin contains fructan or fructooligosaccharide, a carbohydrate made from fructose molecules, that make it difficult for your body to digest it.
Its indigestibility is a boon because it helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut, resulting in a healthy and clean stomach. If you have good bacteria in your stomach, there will be a drastic reduction in inflammation, harmful bacteria, and other gut problems.
- Improvement in bowel movements:
As mentioned earlier in the point, inulin present in the chicory root helps in maintaining a healthy gut. In addition to this, it also promotes healthy digestion as it helps in removing all the impurities from your stomach.
According to research, it was revealed that inulin can help in treating constipation. It helps in softening the consistency of the stool and also escalates bowel movements. No matter how convincing these studies sound, more concrete research is required in this area.
- Improves the levels of blood sugar:
Diabetes generally occurs when people’s pancreas is not able to produce insulin which creates a major spike in blood sugar levels. However, according to research, it was revealed that chicory root fiber helps in improving the blood sugar control of people suffering from diabetes.
This is only possible due to the presence of inulin in chicory root which ameliorates the digestion process and metabolism of carbohydrates escalating the breakdown process of sugar in your body. Not only that, but it also increases the sensitivity to inulin which helps in the absorption of sugar in your body.
According to studies conducted on rodents, it was revealed that chicory root apart from inulin, also contains chicoric and chlorogenic acids which help in spiking the sensitivity of insulin in their bodies.
According to studies conducted on women who were suffering from type 2 diabetes, it was also revealed that consuming some amount of inulin had significantly reduced their blood sugar levels. However, the inulin in these studies was a different kind of inulin than is normally found. The former one is usually used to add to the baked goods and drinks. However, more concrete research is still required in this area.
- May help you reach your weight loss goals:
This is one of the most attractive chicory root benefits. According to a study, it was revealed that chicory root may help in escalating your weight loss process by controlling and regulating your daily appetite.
Due to the presence of oligofructose in chicory root, you might experience decreased appetite and consequently, lower calorie intake. Oligofructose is considered to decrease the levels of ghrelin in your body, which is a hormone that creates feelings of hunger.
Various other studies have shared similar conclusions, however, they are more related to the inulin and oligofructose supplements and not chicory root particularly.
- Can be easily added to your diet
Being a dietary requirement that can be easily added is one of the major benefits of chicory root. It can be added in the form of an additive in packaged or complex foods and you might even consume it without knowing.
More often than not, chicory root is processed to gain the maximum benefits of inulin that bolster the amount of fiber content and also be served as an alternative to bitter coffee or sugar because of its highly nutritious properties as mentioned earlier.
If you want, you can eat it at your home as well after buying from your nearest grocery or specialty shops by just boiling and steaming it for a while. However, if you want to consume it as an alternative to coffee, you can take two tablespoons of the roasted form of chicory root and add one cup of water to your coffeemaker. Voila, you will have the perfect beverage, to which your body will thank you later.
You can also consume chicory root in the form of supplements that extract the maximum amount of inulin that ensures a healthy and fit body. These inulin supplements are widely available in all health stores.
What should be the appropriate dosage? Are there any side effects to it?
For centuries, chicory root has been used as a traditional medicine that is considered to be safe and secure for people. No matter how essential the fiber is for the body, the fiber found in chicory root may cause certain problems such as bloating and gas if it is consumed excessively.
The inulin which is often found in complex packaged foods is added with sugar and is sweetened which does not make it healthy. However, when no preservative or additive is mixed with inulin, it is generally called ‘native inulin’.
Native inulin does not cause bloating or gas problems because it is not modified with any other product. A standard dose for consuming inulin is considered to be 10 to 12 grams as per the studies done by health experts.
However, the dose differs from person to person. Therefore, it is essential to consult your doctor first regarding the consumption of chicory root before taking it. Not only that but if you are suffering from any comorbidities or allergies to ragweed, it is extremely necessary to ask your healthcare provider first as it can stimulate certain unwanted reactions and often cause other complications.