You may want to start using this prebiotic coffee substitute.
Have you heard of the newest coffee trend? Chicory coffee is becoming a popular drink of choice by many coffee lovers. Whether you are an avid chicory coffee drinker or have never heard of it before, you may not be aware of the amazing health benefits that chicory coffee contains.
What is Chicory?
Chicory is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean Region and Europe that grows to around three feet in height and produces a purplish-blue daisy-like flower. However, the flower is not the source of the goodness. The root is what is cultivated and used for things like supplements, teas, oils and of course, coffee.
So, how did people start using this root as substitute for coffee? Way back in 1766, Frederick the Great banned the importation of coffee into Prussia. Little did he know this would lead to the chicory root being used as a substitute. Chicory therefore became a very popular drink in Eastern Europe. It became a hit in the U.S. during WW II when trading with coffee-producing countries was disrupted. New Orleans was the first to use this root as a coffee substitute for Americans.
Benefits of Chicory
The chicory root itself contains many health benefits, the most major being that is a prebiotic. The root contains a large amount of inulin, which is a prebiotic fiber. This fiber is important fuel for our gut bacteria and therefore benefits our gut health, immune health and can aid digestive and bowel illness. Inulin is actually often extracted from the root and added to other foods such as ice cream, chocolate bars, salad dressings and yogurt because it gives food a creamy texture.
Although the most common use for chicory is as a prebiotic, there are other benefits to consuming the root. Chicory contains anti-inflammatory properties, it can help protect against free-radicals and toxins in the liver, and it can aid arthritic symptoms such as osteoarthritis.
Why Drink Chicory Coffee?
Besides getting all of the benefits mentioned above through drinking coffee, there is one major reason many coffee lovers made the switch. Chicory is caffeine-free. Chicory offers the same coffee flavor without any caffeine. This can be helpful to people with high stress or anxiety and need to stay away from caffeine.
Caffeine can interrupt sleeping patterns, or make you hit a wall, or crash during the day. Chicory can fix this issue by still giving you that late-afternoon or early-morning coffee fix without the negative caffeine side effects. You can mix in the ground chicory root with coffee to lessen the caffeine amount, or you can just completely drink the chicory root, steeped the same way as coffee grounds are. So switch up your coffee routine and give chicory coffee a try!
Sarah Domino, Penn State Intern