Chicory Root, Inulin & Prebiotic Fiber For The Gut

by Dr. David Minkoff November 05, 2021 3 min read

Chicory Root, Inulin & Prebiotic Fiber For The Gut

The Ancient Herb: Chicory Root

The chicory root has been a staple of the human diet for over 2,000 years. Records of the chicory plant as part of regular meals date as far back as ancient Egypt, through ancient Rome, and into modern times.

Sadly, many people are unfamiliar with this incredible root, and an understanding of its many health benefits has begun to fade into obscurity.

Today we are going to discuss the benefits and uses of this extraordinary plant, one of nature’s most effective weapons in the battle for optimal health.

What is Chicory Root?

Chicory (also called Cichorium intybus) is a woody and herbaceous plant in the dandelion family. Natural chicory plants have beautiful blue flowers and a hearty root, and the entire plant is edible (be forewarned: the leaves and flowers are quite bitter).

The root of the chicory plant has been used for centuries to make tea. It has also been used since the 1800s as an alternative or additive to coffee, as when roasted and brewed, it has a similar taste and consistency.

Okay, So What’s The Story With Chicory Root?

Consumption of chicory root comes with an array of remarkable health benefits, including:

  • Promotes gut health
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Prevents bacterial infections
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes better sleep [1]
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Reduces arthritis pain [2]
  • Helps prevent cancer and fight tumors
  • Lessens feelings of anxiety

Sounds unbelievable, right?

Well, it will all click when you see what the roots contain.

Inulin: A Prebiotic Fiber For Your Gut

Many of the benefits of the chicory root come from the fact that it is 68% inulin by weight. [3]

Inulin is a type of dietary fiber known as a fructan (also called a fructooligosaccharide), a carbohydrate made up of short chains of fructose molecules your body is unable to digest. [4]

And while the natural function of dietary fiber brings a host of health benefits, that’s not what makes inulin special. What makes inulin special is that it is also a prebiotic – which means that it feeds the good digestive bacteria in your gut.[5],[6]

The scientific definition of a prebiotic is:

“A nondigestible compound that, through its metabolization by microorganisms in the gut, modulates the composition and/or activity of the gut microbiota, thus conferring a beneficial physiologic effect on the host.”[7]

In addition to the more obvious benefits of a functioning, healthy digestive system, the good bacteria in your gut play a critical role in reducing inflammation, helping your body to absorb and use minerals, and fight off harmful bacteria. [8]

Countless studies have shown many real-world benefits from chicory inulin, including:

  • Relieving constipation [9],[10]
  • Regulating your appetite by decreasing the hunger hormones and increasing the hormones that make you feel satisfied [11],[12]
  • Helping control blood sugar by decreasing the fat content in your liver, thereby reducing insulin resistance and promoting regular blood sugar levels [13],[14],[15]
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering blood triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) [16],[17]
  • Improve the absorption of minerals and bone health [18],[19]
  • Reduce the appearance of precancerous cells in your colon and create a biological environment less favorable to cancer [20],[21]
  • Help treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [22],[23]

Further, your gut bacteria play important roles in your hormonal system, and improving your digestive system has been known to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. [24]

Reduce the Risk of Disease and Illness with Polyphenol-Rich Chicory Root

Chicory root is also chock full of polyphenols, micronutrients found in plants that protect them from UV radiation and diseases. Studies have shown similar effects in humans, including reducing the risks and effects of:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Aging [25]

Beta-Carotene

Chicory root is also a great source of beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A (retinol). Vitamin A is a critical nutrient your body needs to maintain:

  • Healthy skin
  • A functioning and active immune system
  • Eye health and vision [26]

Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radicals to ward off chronic diseases and conditions.

How YOU Can Benefit From Chicory Root

With all of the research data available on this wonderful root, it was a no-brainer to use chicory root as a primary source of dietary fiber in our new BodyHealth Bar.

We formulated this bar with entirely non-GMO, vegan, kosher ingredients to provide a delicious, healthy snack that provides sustained energy and delivers real satisfaction.

So, whether you get a helping of chicory root in our bar, brew it as a coffee alternative, or take it as a supplement, you are on the path to optimized health.



References:

  1. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-chicory.html
  2. https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2474-11-156
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chicory-root-fiber#1.-Packed-with-the-prebiotic-fiber-inulin
  4. https://dietsolutions.net.au/what-are-fructans/
  5. https://dietsolutions.net.au/10-top-foods-that-support-gut-health/
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.femsec.2004.07.014
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/pdf/nzy005.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18215222
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25208775
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21091293
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22952656
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19386741
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26500686
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168743/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26571012
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25617533
  17. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531784800755
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25069021
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22394255
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15877900
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16573377
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17439507
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162680
  24. http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/gut-bacteria-and-depression.html
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/pdf/omcl0205_0270.pdf
  26. [26]https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758#uses_benefits