10 benefits of chicory root fiber you might not know about.
We all know that fiber is pretty essential for our gut health: it helps us get rid of toxins from the colon and makes sure we have bowel movements on the regular. But not all types of fiber are the same. We use a type of fiber called chicory root fiber in our prebiotic drinks and it’s pretty special. Not heard of it? Here’s what you need to know-and ten reasons why you need to add chicory root fiber to your diet.
Chicory root comes from the chicory plant-which is actually a bright blue flowering plant. Chicory root has been used for centuries and centuries-either as a drink (it’s often used as a healthy coffee alternative) or supplement. But why is chicory root so powerful?
1. It’s full of prebiotics.
One of the main benefits of chicory is that it contains inulin-a powerful prebiotic which helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. Inulin has been proven to boost strains of bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, (1) as well as a whole host of other health benefits.
Whilst we hear a lot about probiotics, prebiotics are just as important and can make a real difference to your gut health. In fact, it’s pretty pointless taking probiotics without considering the power of prebiotics too!
2. It can help with weight loss.
Whilst weight loss isn’t the main benefit of chicory, research has found it could in fact trigger weight loss. This is again down to the super prebiotic inulin, with one study finding it particularly beneficial to those with pre-diabetes wanting to lose weight (2).
3. It can balance your blood sugar.
As well as weight loss, chicory root is also thought to be helpful in balancing your blood sugar. Whilst we’re not advising you tucking into a plateful of donuts and then taking a chicory supplement, this root could be particularly useful for those with Type 2 diabetes, who may find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels. One study found that chicory root improved glycemic levels of women with diabetes. (3)
4. It’s a great coffee alternative
Made from roasted, ground chicory root, chicory coffee can offer a healthier alternative to coffee with a similar roasted, bitter taste. Not only can drinking your chicory offer some of the health benefits we’ve already mentioned but it’s also caffeine free-meaning it’s a great choice if you’re looking to drink less caffeine first thing.
5. It can help with constipation.
All fiber can be useful in making your bowel movements more regular but chicory root fiber has been proven to be a great help for those who have constipation in particular. A study of 44 volunteers found that chicory-derived inulin significantly increased their stool frequency and helped soften hard stools too (4).
6. It contains Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 is a pretty important vitamin: it can help with everything from supporting the central nervous system to helping the body use and store energy. Unlike some vitamins, our body can’t make vitamin B6 so we need to source it through food choices. This is where chicory might be useful: 60g of raw chicory is thought to contain around 9% of your daily needs of Vitamin B6. (5).
7. It can help increase your Manganese intake.
Another thing Chicory root is rich in is Manganese. Whilst not a huge amount, 60g of raw chicory contains about 6% of your daily needs of Manganese (6). Not to be confused with Magnesium, Manganese is a trace mineral which is pretty crucial in helping with brain function.
8. It could help your cholesterol levels
With many of us worrying about rising cholesterol, chicory root may have some of the answers. Inulin, the prebiotic found in chicory, is thought to be super heart healthy: in one study of females, those who took insulin for 2 months showed a big reduction in their LDL cholesterol (7). Is there anything this powerful root can’t do?
9. It could help with arthritis
Whilst much of chicory’s health benefits are about digestion, this powerful root can actually support all different areas of the body. Thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory effect, one study found that there was a 20% improvement in things like pain and stiffness in patients who took chicory root whilst living with osteoarthritis (8) meaning it could be worth a try for anyone struggling with painful joints.
10. It can help reduce your sugar intake
Finally, as well as drinking chicory root-it could also be a great sugar-reducing substitute. Chicory root can have a slightly sweet flavor and is much healthier than many sweeteners. It also is great at adding textures to things like nut butters.
Whether it’s to go sugar-free, boost your fiber intake or slash your cholesterol, it's clear there are many benefits of chicory root fiber.