Chicory root is a herb with many amazing health benefits, including its ability to aid in digestion, detoxify the liver, relieve heartburn, reduce arthritis pain, inhibit bacterial infections, improve immunity, and lower the risks of heart conditions. This small plant is also a natural sedative that can support weight loss and combat kidney stones.
The Mediterranean plant is commonly cultivated for its culinary use in making salads and several other medicinal preparations. In fact, the root powder of the herb is usually used as a coffee substitute and as an herbal remedy for certain health conditions.
Chicory is an incredible source of minerals, vitamins, potassium, iron-folic acid, magnesium, zinc, manganese as well as calcium.
The Health Benefits of Chicory
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of chicory root.
Boosts the Immune System
Chicory possesses some potent effects, including polyphenolic compounds, which make it effective in boosting the immune system. It contains antibacterial agents that combat harmful bacteria strain. The herb also contains phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, eliminating free radicals from the body. This lowers the risks of contracting certain health conditions, including cancer and heart problems.
According to some studies, chicory extract can help in the reduction of tumor growth. As a matter of fact, the studies suggest that the fructans present in chicory, contain antioxidant and anti-tumor qualities properties. The polyphenols and phytochemicals found in chicory are also effective in preventing various types of cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer.
Chicory root contains sedative effects that can alleviate anxiety and relax the mind, thus reducing stress and its harmful effects on the body. The extract of chicory root can also be used to induce sleep and is much healthier than several conventional sleeping pills. When stress and anxiety level is reduced, the chances of insomnia, premature aging, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, and cognitive are significantly reduced as well.
Chicory is excellent for digestive health as it has inulin, a potent prebiotic. And in fact, prebiotics are bacteria that benefit on the host, rather than diseases, which they commonly linked with. Since it reduces the acidity of the system of the body, inulin is used to fight off intestinal and digestive problems, including indigestion, acid reflux as well as heartburn.
Aids in Weight Loss
Chicory is a rich source of oligofructose and inulin, which are natural dietary fiber that helps in promoting weight loss. These components are effective in the balancing ghrelin, an amino acid mainly connected with food cravings. When the amount of the ghrelin is reduced, chicory can lower the risks of overeating and promote the feeling of fullness and in turn, help in weight loss.
Supports Heart Health
Inulin is also believed to reduce the body’s levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is one of the primary causes of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. These cardiovascular condition block blood flow when it sticks to arteries and veins as well cause heart attacks and strokes. Interestingly, inulin’s ability in reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol is rarely active until a person eats a significant amount of carbohydrates. However, more research is currently underway to determine the effectiveness of chicory in supporting heart health.
Chicory is also loaded with plant phenols, which have been widely considered anti-arrhythmic and anti-thrombotic agents. They are antioxidants that can greatly improve the regulation of blood and plasma in the body, which lowers the risks of heart-related conditions.
Treats Kidney Disorders
Chicory root extract is commonly used as a diuretic, which improves the volume of urine. When urination is frequent, it can help remove toxins stored in the liver and kidneys and thus prevent the health conditions that could occur when toxins are left in the body. In addition to this, frequent urination can remove excess water weight and support weight loss.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Chicory has often been used for treating arthritis and according to some studies, the herb has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it relieves pain in health conditions such as osteoarthritis. There are other studies that indicate that chicory can also be effective as a general anti-inflammatory agent for joint soreness, aches as well as muscle pains.
One of the components in chicory root, inulin, plays a role as a natural fiber and can relieve constipation. The fiber helps to ease bowel movements, support peristaltic motions, and improve the secretion of gastric juices. This means that digestion is significantly improved and constipation is amazingly reduced as well. As it helps to maintain a smooth and balanced digestive process, chicory root also reduces the risks of certain gastrointestinal conditions, including colon and stomach cancer.
Side Effects and Precautions
While there are numerous health benefits of using chicory, it should not be consumed in excess.
- `Pregnant women should avoid the use of chicory root as it can stimulate menstruation and which may result in a miscarriage.
- Breastfeeding mothers should not consume chicory in excess, especially because no research has been conducted on the effect it could have on infants through breast milk.
- The plant can also result in allergies as it is closely related to daisies, ragweed, and marigolds, especially for people who are already allergic to these herbs.
- It is best to consult with your doctor before incorporating chicory root into your diet.
- People who have gallstones should avoid consuming too much chicory as it can aggravate their condition. It is advisable to talk to your doctor about the herb if you have suffered gallbladder issues before.
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