Chicory (also known as endive) comes from the dandelion family and can usually be recognised by its bright blue flowers. You can actually enjoy the entirety of the chicory plant! First off, the leaves are often eaten raw in salads but can be cooked to reduce their famously bitter flavour. Although the leaves can make a tasty addition to a meal, the real health benefits lie within the roots. They are normally roasted and ground and due to being naturally caffeine free, are often used as a coffee alternative. Consuming chicory root is a great way to boost your fibre intake and is often used in high fibre and gluten-free products. Read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Chicory!
1. Helps Promote a Healthy Gut
A large amount of chicory’s dietary fibre content is made up of the prebiotic fibre named inulin. Being a prebiotic, it’s highly fermentable by the friendly bacteria in your gut. It can help promote the growth of helpful probiotics in your digestive system which are needed to keep your gut, brain and body healthy.
2. Keeps You Fuller for Longer
The dietary fibres, oligofructose and inulin, aid in the regulation of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin travels through your bloodstream and to your brain, where it tells it to become hungry and seek out food. Therefore, eating chicory, helps you reach satiety and perhaps in the long run contributes to weight loss.
3. Alleviates Constipation
Studies show that the roots of this little blue plant can help fix this common problem. Eating 15g of it daily shows improvement of constipation, thanks again to its high inulin levels.
4. Provides Digestive Support
Chicory root can increase the flow of bile. This helps break down fat which relieves your liver and gallbladder of pressure therefore supporting your digestive system.
5. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Chicory root can increase levels of adiponectin in the body. Adiponectin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. This may help delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes.
So, whether you want to cut down your caffeine intake, start adding more fibre to your diet or just fancy giving this unusual root a try, grab a jar of chicory coffee today and start reaping the health benefits. Watch the video above to learn how to identify and pick your own chicory. When shopping for chicory look for firm, crisp leaves and avoid those with green tips, as they’ll be extra bitter! Into chicory and coffee substitutes? Which ones have you tried and what do they do for you? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these other earthy healthy foods Beetroot, Rutabaga and Yacon straight from Mother Nature to help you get YOUR Fit ON in no time!)