Chicory roots come from a plant in Europe whose popularity has grown due toits high fiber content. It contains a fiber known as inulin, which is water-soluble.
Inulin extract, a fiber obtained from chicory plants native to Europe, ismassively beneficial. It is oftenadded to processed foods to boost theirfiber content. Traditionally, chicory roots were boiled in water for medicinal purposes. The resulting drink hada similar color and taste to coffee; hence, it was used as an alternative if there was no coffee. However, unlike coffee, it does not contain caffeine. Today, these roots are still used for medicinal purposes. Research has shown that they can improve gut health, among other benefits. This blog will discuss the benefits, uses, and side effects of chicory root fiber.
What are the health benefits of chicory root fiber?
In traditional and modern medicine, chicory roots are cherished, thanks to the many health benefits they have, including;
i. Relieves constipation
Chicory roots containinsolubleinulin fiber, which usually remains undigested as it moves along the digestive tract. Therefore, it aids in the movement of food through the gut. It also facilitates smooth movement of waste hence preventing constipation. A study examined patientssuffering from constipation, and uponsubjecting them to inulin supplements,bowels frequency significantly improved.
ii. It can kill bacteria
Inulin fiber is not digested in the gut andacts as food for the beneficial bacteria in the alimentary canal. Feeding these bacteria leads to their increase in numbers, eventuallyoutdoing the harmful ones and improving gut health. The healthy bacteria also reduce inflammation in the gut, preventing diseases such as ulcers. In addition, well-balanced concentrations of the gut microbiota mean overall body health.
iii. Could aid in weight loss
Due to their high fiber content, chicory roots decrease appetite, reducing one’soverall calorie intake. Yet, less intake of calories means significant weight loss. Besides, theroots contain oligofructose, which minimizes the production of the ghrelin hormone, a hunger-stimulating hormone. Research has shown that taking oligofructose supplements reduces hunger feelings in an individual. However, there is a need for more studies to show whether taking chicory roots would have the same results.
iv. Could help in blood sugar control
Diabetic patients can benefit from these roots since inulin promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are useful in carbohydrate metabolism, a process that breaks down carbs. With successfulcarbbreakdown, the accumulation of sugars in the blood significantly reduces. In fact, in a study where diabetic patients were subjected to drinks containing inulin,great improvements in their blood sugar levels were recorded. In addition, the insoluble fiber slows down food absorption and makes it gradual, lowering the chances of sugar spikes.
v. Reduces inflammation on the skin
Chicory paste and chicory powder are topically applied to the skin to reduce inflammation. In fact, studies have confirmed that when they are used onallergic and infectious inflammations, great improvements were recorded.
vi. Improves the immune system
Most immune problems originate from the gut. Therefore, once the gut is healthy, immunity becomes strong. Chicory root fiber provides food for the beneficial bacteria in the guts, improving digestion and overall body health.
vii. It can help reduce cholesterol levels
Recent studies have shown that chewing chicory root fiber can reduce bad cholesterol in the body. This is especially significant since high LDL (bad cholesterols) levels increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
viii. Improves heart health
Chicory root fiber is rich in potassium, a nutrient required by the body for balanced sodium ions. Such a regulatory process improves heart health by preventing diseases such as high blood pressure. In addition, the nutrient regulates the contraction and relaxation of body muscles, including the heart muscles, improving heart function.
ix. Improves bone health
Chicory roots contain some traces of calcium. Regular chewing of these roots can improve bone health as one benefits from calcium. This reduces one’s risk of osteoporosis and other forms of arthritis.
Uses of chicory root fiber
Chicory root fiber is used to make different recipes. It is commonly added to water to make hot beverages. For instance, it is ground in water to make chicory root coffee, especially for those who want to reduce their caffeine intake. Besides, it has the same color and taste as that of coffee, serving the same purpose.
Furthermore, the rootsareused in smoothies and shakes when ground into fine particles to be whipped into smoothies to provide fiber. It is also used in making fiber bar snacks, usually packed in boxes. You can purchase them from supermarkets or other food stores to provide supplementary fiber to other meals. In addition, theroot fiber is added to keto dishes containing less than 50 mg of carbs and is high in proteins and fats to complement nutritional requirements. Lastly, you can addthe root fibers in vegan puddings to make them creamy, thick, and nutritious.
Side effects of chicory root fiber
There exists no information on the possible effects of chicory root fiber on pregnant and nursing mothers, although the two-need safety-proven products. Therefore, they should consult a healthcare provider before taking any chicory root supplement. Excess use of chicory root supplements can lead to bloating and stomach aches. This is because manufacturers add some sweeteners in packed inulin, interfering with its chemical composition, leading to bloating. Therefore, taking chicory root powder or supplements should not exceed 10 grams in a day to avoid stomach discomfort.Chicory root fiber may trigger some allergies, especially among those allergic topollen. Lastly, those with irritable bowel syndrome should avoid chicory root as it may cause some adverse reactions.
Chicory root fiber is a healthy fiber that can be easily added to your diet and found in foods, supplements, or prepared in drinks. These roots contain inulin, a fiber with medicinal value.It canimprove various constipation, blood pressure, inflammation, blood sugar levels and facilitateweight loss. Taking too many chicory root supplements is not healthy. Pregnant and breastfeeding others should consult qualified health providers before taking any chicory root products.
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