Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of chicory root.
The Cichorium intybus is a perennial herb native to the Old World that grows wild on the edges of crops and roads.
Also called chicory or endive, it is cultivated in several European countries, where the root is used for culinary purposes. For example, it is usually an alternative to coffee.
Chicory root is also credited with many health benefits. Some of them are derived from their richness in inulin, a soluble fiber that can serve as a substitute for fat or sugar. We show you more details about the root.
The medicinal uses of Cichorium intybus date back to the Middle Ages, when the alchemist Paracelsus recommended its use to treat skin irritations, as well as digestive and liver problems. Let’s learn about other benefits of chicory root.
There is scientific evidence that 68% of the dry weight of chicory root is composed of inulin.
This is known to be a type of fiber, called fructan or fructooligosaccharide, that works as a prebiotic.
That is, it stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestine.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, these bacteria are useful in reducing systemic inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria in the digestive tract, and promoting nutrient absorption.
As a stimulant of the healthy gut microbiota, chicory root is considered prebiotic.
The inulin present in the endive root is indigestible.
For this reason, it reaches the intestines directly and serves as a fertilizer for good bacteria, facilitating digestion.
A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that inulin can help treat constipation.
The 4-week study of 44 adults with this problem found that taking 12 grams of chicory inulin increases the frequency of bowel movements.
Similarly, a study in 16 people with infrequent bowel movements showed that 10 grams of endive inulin taken is capable of increasing bowel movements from 4 to 5 per week.
Now, it should be taken into account that these investigations have focused on the effects of Cichorium intybus inulin supplements, so more studies would be necessary for other forms of this plant.
Inulin is also involved in glucose control, especially in diabetics.
There is scientific evidence that it can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria associated with carbohydrate metabolism.
This process improves insulin sensitivity.
Likewise, a 2-month study with 49 types 2 diabetic women suggested that taking 10 grams of inulin daily can significantly lower blood sugar levels and glycosylated hemoglobin.
On the other hand, the endive root is a source of chicory and chlorogenic acid.
According to research in rodents, these substances increase muscle sensitivity to insulin. However, more studies are still required.
The prebiotic fiber present in chicory root is believed to be able to control hunger pangs and reduce total calorie intake. This can promote weight loss.
According to a 12-week study with 48 overweight adults, taking 21 grams of endive oligofructose, a fiber similar to inulin, reduces on average 1 kilogram of body weight.
Research also proposes that oligofructose is capable of lowering the levels of ghrelin, a gastric hormone that regulates appetite.
Although there are other investigations with similar results, most of them are carried out with inulin or oligofructose supplements, but not with the prebiotic fiber from the root.
Chicory root is rich in antioxidants, especially those that reduce inflammation and protect arterial health.
An example of this is an animal study that found that the properties of this plant are capable of protecting against liver damage.
Even though Cichorium intybus root is considered safe to use, it can cause side effects in certain conditions:
If consumed in excess, it leads to gas and bloating.
When insulin is not native, that is, it has been chemically altered, it is more likely to cause adverse effects.
Pregnant and lactating women should avoid it, given the limited evidence that exists in this regard.
Those allergic to ragweed or birch pollen should also limit their intake.
The doses are not defined with this root, so it is advisable to consult with a health professional for its safe consumption.
While it is true that in research, the standard dose of inulin is 10 grams per day, and some studies suggest that tolerance could be higher if it is native, an official dose for root fiber has not yet been established. chicory.
Therefore, if you want to start taking supplements that contain this ingredient, it is best to ask a specialist.
Chicory root: an important source of prebiotic fibers
Thanks to the fact that more than 50% of the weight of the endive root is made up of the prebiotic fiber inulin, it has a series of important benefits.
Not only does it aid digestion, but it can also relieve constipation and increase the frequency of bowel movements.
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