Chicory Root

                     Chicory Root Powder

Chicory Root

Back in September of 2017, I wrote an article called “The Amazing Microbiome” in which I printed Dr. Irminne Van Dyken’s list of foods that are considered good sources of prebiotics.

A prebiotic is a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-being and health. Prebiotics are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and help good bacteria grow and flourish. Prebiotics keep beneficial bacteria healthy. Prebiotics are NOT bacteria. They are specific nutrients, usually non-absorbable carbohydrates like fructo- and oligo-saccharides, which can be found naturally occurring in whole grains, fruits and legumes. Many prebiotics identified to date are members of the carbohydrate family or, to put it more simply, dietary fibers.

The food that topped Dr. Van Dyken’s list as a good source of prebiotics was chicory, more specifically, chicory root.

Should I Try It?

Although I’m not known as a person who is very open to new experiences, I decided that it might be a good idea to try to improve my intestinal gut flora by adding chicory to my diet.

During my investigation of chicory, I discovered that it is commonly used as a coffee substitute. I’m not a coffee drinker, so using chicory as a beverage did not appeal to me.

I found an article that suggested adding chicory root powder to my morning oatmeal.  I already add about a thousand other foods to my oatmeal so I figured one more wouldn’t hurt.   I was able to find chicory root powder at Four Seasons Natural Foods in Saratoga, NY.  Although the price tag of $19.99 per pound nearly floored me, I regained my composure once I realized that a pound of the stuff is quite a lot.  I purchased less than ¼ pound.  This has lasted for a few weeks as I only add 1 teaspoon to my very large bowl of oatmeal.

The Verdict?

Chicory root powder is a keeper for me.   Even though I only add a small amount to a large amount of oatmeal that is already flavored with most of the foods in my fridge, the chicory adds a pleasant earthy flavor that is hard to describe. I’m pretty sure that if I had to eat oatmeal without chicory, I’d really miss it.

I don’t plan on increasing the amount I add as I don’t think it is necessary or even desirable.  In retrospect, I probably should have started with ½ teaspoon because I noticed increased intestinal gas during the first week.  It has gradually gotten better.

More Information on Chicory

Here are a few articles on the potential health benefits of chicory:

If you give it a try, remember to start small.

Stay Healthy and Strong!  And if winter is getting you down, remember what Tom Waits says, “You Can Never Hold Back Spring”





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