Is chicory coffee a healthy alternative?


Il chicory coffee has gained popularity in recent years. A hot coffee-flavoured drink, obtained from toasted chicory root rather than from coffee beans. It is highly appreciated by those who are trying to reduce caffeine intake or cannot tolerate it – because it is caffeine-free – and can provide several health benefits, including reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar and improved 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 toasted chicory root powder. The species of chicory used for coffee – among the many present in botany – is 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 has a flavor similar to coffee, but characterized by woody and hazelnut notes.

Although 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 palatable alternative, people began 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 cut off one of their ports.

Chicory coffee: how many calories?

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

Without caffeine…

Chicory coffee can be a great way to reduce caffeine intake, without giving up on the coffee ritual. A classic cup of coffee contains approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine, although this content can vary based on the type of coffee beans used, the quantity and the type of roasting. Consuming high 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 from its intake.

Beneficial properties of Chicory Coffee

Chicory coffee increases appetite, and performs a digestive action action because it stimulates the production of gastric juices – gastro stimulating function. Not only that, it improves biliary function – increasing the hepatic secretion of digestive fluid. Contains organic acids and flavonoid polyphenols that increase renal filtration, and boasts diuretic and purifying properties. Inulin, contained in chicory coffee, is a soluble fiber used as anti constipation and prebiotic. Chicory finds application in the preventive and therapeutic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea due to diverticulosis/diverticulitis, and appears to exert an adsorbent effect, counteracting flatulence, meteorism, 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 check your blood sugar improving the way carbohydrates were metabolized. Although research on chicory inulin's effect 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 insulin levels 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 gastric secretion, this drink can result harmful for gastritis and peptic ulcers; 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 mild effect stimulant on uterine contractions. Obviously, in this coffee the responsible active ingredients are present in almost negligible concentrations; it is however advisable not to exceed consumption. However, no particular contraindications for breastfeeding are highlighted. It is better to avoid taking chicory coffee in case of severe diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, etc.

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


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