Chicory coffee: is it a healthy alternative?

Chicory coffee: is it a healthy alternative?


Chicory coffee has gained popularity in recent years. A hot drink with a coffee flavour , made from roasted chicory root instead of coffee beans. It is highly valued by those looking to reduce their caffeine intake or can’t tolerate it – because they lack it – and can provide several health benefits, including reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar and improving overall health . digestive . However, chicory coffee can also cause negative side effects, although they are not serious.

Chicory coffee: what is it?

Chicory coffee is a drink obtained from the infusion – at high temperature – of roasted chicory root powder. The species of chicory used for coffee – among the many present in botany – is the intybus . Chicory is a flowering plant of the dandelion family which is characterized by a hard stem, covered with down, light purple flowers and leaves, added to salads because they are edible. Chicory coffee tastes similar to coffee, but characterized by woody and nutty notes .

While the history of chicory coffee is not entirely clear, it is believed to have originated in the 1800s in France during a massive coffee shortage. Desperate for a worthwhile alternative, people have started mixing chicory roots into their coffee. Years later, during the Civil War, it also became popular in New Orleans when the city experienced a coffee shortage after Union naval blockades disrupted one of their ports.

Chicory coffee: how many calories?

Chicory coffee has a practically zero or negligible caloric intake. Instead, it seems to have significant phytotherapeutic properties .

Without caffeine…

Chicory coffee can be a great way to reduce your caffeine intake, without giving up on your coffee ritual. A classic cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine, although this content can vary according to the type of coffee beans used, the quantity and the type of roasting. Consuming large amounts of caffeine has been associated with side effects such as nausea , anxiety , heart palpitations , restlessness , and insomnia . On the other hand, chicory root is naturally caffeine-free . For this reason, it is a hot drink suitable for those who intend to reduce caffeine intake or experience negative effects with its intake.

Beneficial properties of Chicory Coffee

Chicory coffee increases the appetite , and performs a digestive action because it stimulates the production of gastric juices – gastro stimulating function. Not only that, it improves biliary function – by increasing the hepatic secretion of digestive fluid . It contains organic acids and flavonoid polyphenols which increase renal filtration, and boasts diuretic and purifying properties . Inulin , contained in chicory coffee, is a soluble fiber used as an anti – constipation  and  prebiotic. Chicory finds application in the preventive and therapeutic treatment of  irritable  bowel  and diverticulosis  /  diverticulitis diarrhea , and appears to exert an adsorbing effect, counteracting flatulence , bloating , abdominal tension   and bloating.

Chicory coffee and blood sugar

Chicory root contains inulin, a type of fiber that has been shown to help manage blood sugar levels   in  both human and animal studies. A recent study treated diabetic rats with chicory inulin for eight weeks. He found that it helped control blood sugar by improving the way carbohydrates were metabolized. Although research on the effect of chicory inulin on blood sugar is limited, several other studies have shown that inulin may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar and insulin resistance . Insulin resistance , which occurs with high levels ofinsulin for long periods, can decrease the effectiveness of this hormone and lead to high blood sugar levels .

Side effects of chicory coffee

The contraindications of chicory coffee are essentially connected to its gastro-stimulating effect. By increasing the gastric secretion, this drink can be harmful for gastritis  and peptic ulcer ; sometimes it also has an undesirable effect on excessive  gastroesophageal reflux .

During pregnancy it is always good to consume chicory coffee in moderation, as the plant is able to exert a slightly stimulating effect on uterine contractions . Obviously, in this coffee the responsible active ingredients are present in almost negligible concentrations; however, it is advisable not to consume too much. However, no particular contraindications for breastfeeding are highlighted . Better to avoid taking chicory coffee in case of severe diarrhea, ulcerative colitis ,  Crohn’s disease , etc.

Chicory can trigger an allergic reaction in some people, causing symptoms such as pain , swelling and tingling in the mouth.



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