Nutrition and DietChicory as a substitute for coffee

Chicory as a substitute for coffee

Chicory is a good substitute for coffee. Find out what are the benefits of chicory root as an alternative to coffee and why it is used as a substitute.

Many, many years ago, when coffee consumption was not as widespread in our country as it is now, and above all because many people could not afford the ‘luxury’ of acquiring it in such complicated and difficult times as it was during the post-war period. Spanish, chicory was used as a substitute for coffee. For this reason it was also popularly known as chicory coffee.

Although today coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, it is estimated that on average a person consumes 1.3 kg. Of coffee per year, especially highlighting the consumption of Finns (12 kg per person per year), and Norwegians (around 10 kg per person), many people choose precisely the opposite: not to consume it, either because they do not like it, because they cannot take it or because they are sensitive to the effect of caffeine.

In these cases, it is possible to use natural substitutes that can precisely become excellent substitutes for coffee, such as chicory.

What is chicory?

The chicory is characterized by an herbaceous plant that is believed it was cultivated in ancient Egypt, though it is native to Europe. It can reach a meter in height, with a deep root, with lilac-blue flowers that can also be white or pink, and gently serrated leaves.

While chicory leaves are commonly used like any other vegetable in the kitchen, or in the preparation of salads, they are also used in the preparation of infusions with medicinal benefits.

Precisely in the form of an infusion, and particularly chicory root is what has traditionally been used as a substitute for coffee.

Chicory as a substitute for coffee

When the chicory is harvested, it is left to dry for some time. Its roots are reserved from it, which are then cleaned and roasted in a moderately hot oven.

The reason why chicory has traditionally been used as a substitute or alternative for coffee is that its roots tend to caramelize when they are roasted, so that when they are finally ground, they result in a natural product with an intense and slightly spicy flavor.

Of course, unlike coffee, the resulting drink, although it is true that it has a much clearer appearance, its flavor is just as intense.

What are its benefits?

Chicory root stands out for its inulin content, a complex carbohydrate, which, being released little by little into the blood, is suitable for people with diabetes. In addition, it is also suitable in case of constipation as it is considered a type of soluble fiber.

It is also rich in inhibin, a bitter principle that acts as a stimulant of bile production, promoting digestion and improving both indigestion and appetite stimulation.

From a more nutritional point of view, chicory roots are especially rich in essential fatty acids, B vitamins, and minerals (such as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus).

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