Home Diets to lose weight Chicory, everything it brings us

Chicory, everything it brings us

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Chicory what is it?

The chicory plant belongs to the Asteraceae group. It can reach more than 90 centimeters, it develops long and thick roots to be able to find water, it is an edible plant that we are going to talk about next.

Its leaves, deep green in color, have teeth and have a fleshy texture. Its taste is bitter, which in ancient times was a problem for its consumption, since bitter flavors were associated with poisonous products. Currently, and more and more foods are being incorporated into our diet, with different flavors, since combining them with other flavors we achieve contrasts that we like.

It is also known as endive, although there are different types. Chicory is of wild origin, it was grown on fallow farmland or in meadows, near roads, etc.

What is chicory for?

Traditionally, chicory was used as a medicinal plant , to remedy liver diseases. The Egyptians thought that it purified the body of toxins, and they were not wrong, it was also used to treat constipation.

Its properties as a possible substitute for coffee began to be known in the 18th century, and today, its main use is this, so we can find powdered chicory . The infusions are prepared from its roasted roots, where the active substances are found. In this way it helps to maintain the waking state. But this is not its only use since chicory is also used as food. Since it contains interesting nutritional properties. The leaves are used to make broths and salads.

Does chicory lose weight?

It is very useful to use it in weight loss diets , since chicory gives us very few calories. Bleached, that is, without the green leaves, it provides us only 17 calories per 100 grams, and with the green leaves 23 calories per 100 grams. A low-calorie food with many benefits for our digestive health. One way to take it is in infusions. The recipe for making an infusion is very simple. You simply have to bring water to boil and add a handful of chicory, not only the green leaves, but also the roots, which is where most of the properties of this plant are concentrated. In addition, the leaves have a more bitter taste so the infusion must be sweetened with stevia.

Chicory as a food in our diet

It is known as the wild endive , since it grows naturally, without being cultivated. Although it is currently cultivated, given its high demand and that the population has begun to include it in their diet. Chicory is very easy to consume and below we are going to give you some tips on how to include it in our diet to make it palatable and tasty.

We can find in the market, mesclum lettuce bags that contain chicory, generally the variety that these bags contain are red chicory, due to its less bitter taste. So its consumption is not difficult. In addition, we can collect it, since it grows wild in many places, such as parks etc.

For wild chicory, there are different tricks to consume it and make it more appetizing. In the first place, we must consume the most tender shoots , that is, the leaves in their first state. This will be less bitter and with a meaty texture .

On the other hand, if we cover the plant from sun exposure about 10 days before harvesting it, we will be able to whiten its leaves, which are generally a very characteristic dark green, although we will reduce the mineral contribution. Generally, we are more interested in tender shoots, since they give us freshness and all the properties that we refer to in the next section.

At the time of consuming it, chicory can be consumed in salads or the part of the roots cooked like a common thistle, in the style of chard or spinach. Sautéed or in an omelette, boiled or in combination with legumes and other stews. Or, as we have already mentioned, as a substitute for coffee in infusions or cereal drinks that also contain it.

Finally, we must emphasize that the amount of vitamins and minerals is greatly affected if we consume it bleached, that is, green or reddish chicory has a greater amount of vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, bleached chicory is less bitter. Therefore, we can choose to combine them, and thus get more out of it.

What are its benefits?

Chicory, with 94% water, is a very interesting ingredient in diets, both for weight loss and maintenance diets or to improve our general health. It provides us with a large amount of nutrients and minerals. Its high potassium content and low sodium content together with its calcium intake provide it with a high diuretic power , ideal for preventing fluid retention . For this reason, this type of food is recommended for diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, gout (high uric acid) since it stimulates the production of urine and the elimination of toxins more quickly; which improves the symptoms of these diseases.

It has multiple antioxidant properties , since it is rich in vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, to take advantage of this property, we must choose green or reddish chicory, since the bleached one has a lower concentration of vitamins. In addition to vitamin A, chicory has various antioxidant agents, such as flavonoids and riboflavin that also help us in the fight against free radicals, propellants of cellular aging.

Chicory helps to mineralize and vitaminize the body , that is, it recharges it with vitamins and minerals. It is an ideal food in the diet of pregnant women because it maintains vitamins at optimal levels, it also provides folic acid that is essential in pregnancy for correct fetal development.

Chicory is rich in soluble fiber, which gives it digestive properties such as maintaining the intestinal tract in a correct state of health, it also prevents flatulence or gas , it also helps fight constipation because it favors the expulsion of feces.

  • The plant is rich in different vitamins , mainly vitamin C and group B. This gives chicory antioxidant properties against free radicals.
  • It is a powerful laxative , since it helps to purify the intestines and favors the digestive process and intestinal movements that help us to make defecation faster.
  • It is also rich in molecules called tannins that are disinfectant and astringent, which is why they help in the purification of the intestine.
  • It favors the elimination of liquids and toxins .
  • It is a faithful ally for diabetics and people with cholesterol. Since it maintains blood glucose and cholesterol levels at optimal levels.
  • It is very useful to fight acne as it has disinfectant and antioxidant properties.
  • Contributes to the retention and absorption of minerals such as calcium or iron.
  • It helps people with drowsiness problems, favoring and increasing the duration of waking periods. It is also believed to improve the health of the nervous system, but there is still no scientific basis to confirm this.

Do you have contraindications?

Ideally, you should consult your doctor about the possible contraindications of consuming chicory. In general, its consumption is not advisable if:

  • You suffer from colic in the kidney, due to its high concentration of oxalates.
  • You have trouble falling asleep.
  • You suffer from hypotension or anemia.
  • You have an ulcer in your stomach or intestine.

Chicory has numerous benefits for our health and well-being, as a substitute for coffee, but also at the nutritional level. It is very rich in vitamins and favors the retention of minerals. It is very versatile since we can prepare it raw or cooked, in broths, salads or infusions.

Red chicory, how are they different?

There is another variety known as Radicchio (Cichorium intybus, is its scientific name), this is more similar to a cabbage or an endive but it has a multitude of properties due to its high anthocyanin content . It has properties that stimulate the metabolism, achieving better digestion .

It also helps to properly assimilate fat- soluble vitamins such as A, E, D and K. It also provides us with a large amount of antioxidants , vitamin A and C, and flavonoids . As nutrients we are also interested in the high amount of fiber that it provides and its high level of hydration that it offers to the body, since 94% of its content is water. It also provides us with magnesium , potassium and calcium , interesting for the bones, in addition its low sodium intake favors the elimination of liquids, thus forgetting about fluid retention .

You can see that they have similar properties , but both are different from each other, both nutritionally speaking and in their culinary characteristics. There are two varieties: Treviso, similar to an endive, and Verona, more compact and similar to cabbage. Its flavor is bitter and with a certain spicy touch , but it is reduced considerably when cooked.

Try it and consume it the way you like it, the one you like the most.

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