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A Variety of Surprising Chicory Health Benefits!
Chicory is a perennial, herbaceous plant with many outstanding health benefits. There are plenty of varieties of chicory — some are grown for the root, and some for the leaves. It originates in Europe, but it is now widely grown in both North and South America. This plant is best known for being a decaf option for coffee, and it is often used as an additive in coffee, but there is so much more it can do!
Lesser known are the abundant health benefits which include treatments for conditions like loss of appetite, upset stomach and rapid heartbeat, just to name but a few. Here is a more detailed list, so include chicory on your shopping list right away!
Adding chicory to the diet is a wonderful way to aid digestion. It is rich in inulin — a substance which is high in soluble fiber and low in calories. Inulin is known as a powerful probiotic that reduces the body’s acidity and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
2. Weight Loss
The high concentration of inulin also gives you a feeling of fullness and acts as an appetite suppressant. There is no danger of blood sugar levels being raised, and inulin contains no calories. Research is ongoing about the possible inclusion of inulin in weight loss programs.
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3. Heart Disease
Chicory is rich in plant phenols that help to lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of blocked arteries. Plant phenols have strong antioxidant compounds that counter against the free radicals, which are known to rampage in the body and cause harm to all the organs, and arteries. The cardiovascular system is no exception. A clinical study also revealed that the phenols in chicory have the potential to reduce body inflammation and help to prevent blood clots from forming in veins and arteries, which can lead to heart attacks.
4. Arthritis and Joint Pain
Over time, chicory has traditionally been used to treat joint pain, muscular aches and soreness, and manage debilitating arthritic pain. Because inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, the plant phenol properties in chicory may fend off body inflammation problems before they even start.
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5. Liver and Kidneys
The free radicals that roam around in the body can cause damage to the liver and kidney cells, compromising the elimination of toxins from the body. Studies have shown that the rich concentration of natural antioxidants in chicory is able to hunt down the free radicals, boosting and protecting the defensive systems of the liver and kidneys from sustaining damage.
6. Stress and Anxiety
Studies have shown that the nutritional values of chicory include minerals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium – all of which have a calming effect on the body. Also present are vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K. These minerals and vitamins, prolific in chicory, are the main agents behind mental and physical well-being.
Food that has not been properly digested becomes impacted in the colon and leads to constipation, which in turn is the root of many intestinal diseases. As stated, the soluble fiber in chicory, inulin, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut that aids digestion and helps to prevent constipation by easing the elimination of waste from the colon.
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Chicory plays a major role in keeping you healthy and ensuring your immune system strong and up to speed.
Here’s how to get the most of chicory’s health benefits.
- Chicory root extract has a similar taste to coffee, and many folks use it as a coffee substitute, as it’s a healthier drink without the caffeine.
- Chicory extract can also be added to coffee mixes for a creamier taste.
- The chicory leaf can be chopped finely and sprinkled on salads. It adds a splendid taste to the dish.
- The root extract has recently been added to certain beers and ales to give them a slightly bitter flavor.
- Many food manufacturers extract inulin from the chicory root and add it to products such as yogurt, ice cream, chocolate bars, and salad dressings.
- Some food manufacturers add it to processed foods as a mild sweetener that does not impact diabetes.
- Ground chicory root is used as a cooking spice to flavor foods, and it can be also used to add flavor to beverages.
- In supplement form, chicory root is the main source of inulin supplementation.
Note that while there are many health benefits of using chicory, it is not recommended that you use it in excess if you are pregnant, because there is a possibility that it can stimulate menstruation and a possible miscarriage. Research is ongoing.
The growing popularity of using chicory for the excellent health benefits has given rise to annual festivals by proponents of natural health therapies.
Chicory festivals are held annually in various European countries like France and Slovenia, and in several areas of the US, including a popular festival held yearly in Manhattan.
Exhibitors display innovative foods made from chicory, and many offer details of interesting recipes which use chicory in the ingredients.
READ ALSO: Top Health Benefits Of Eucalyptus Oil
Natural health experts are also available to fully explain how chicory benefits health and can help you to stay well. There is no magic, but chicory is indeed a miracle herb straight from nature itself!