what it is, properties and benefits (including recipes!)

Chicory is a plant that helps to lose weight, prevent cardiovascular diseases, improve digestion and strengthen immunity, as it is rich in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K.

The leaves of this plant, whose scientific name is Cichorium intibus L.smooth or wavy, have a slightly bitter taste, and can be eaten raw or cooked in dishes such as salads, stir-fries, cakes, juices, and soups.

On the other hand, chicory root and flowers can be purchased from health food stores or some drugstores and used medicinally in teas or infusions. The root of this plant can also be roasted and ground to make “chicory coffee”.

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Properties of chicory

Because chicory is high in fiber, such as inulin; carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C; phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, cicoric acid and sesquiterpene lactones; flavonoids and vitamin K, this herb has antioxidant, carminative, sedative, anti-diabetic, satiating, prebiotic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties that give it numerous health benefits.

Main advantages

The main beneficial properties of chicory include:

1. Promote weight loss

Chicory is rich in fiber, which enhances the feeling of fullness, controls hunger and helps reduce food intake throughout the day, which contributes to weight loss.

In addition, this plant is low in calories, so it can be included in weight loss diets. Learn about other foods that help you lose weight.

2. Keep Your Gut Healthy

The inulin present in chicory root has a prebiotic effect that promotes the balance of the intestinal microbiota, reducing inflammation and helping to avoid situations such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Learn more about the benefits of inulin.

In addition, the fibers present in the leaves of this plant contribute to the regulation of defecation, which facilitates defecation and fights constipation.

3. Relieve indigestion

Chicory, mainly its root, helps regulate the gut microbiota and improve digestion, in addition to reducing stomach acid. Thus, this plant may be useful in preventing and treating reflux, acidity, and indigestion. See other home remedies for poor digestion.

4. Prevent cardiovascular disease

Chicory leaves are rich in beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C, which are nutrients, and carotenoids, which have an antioxidant effect, which help control blood cholesterol levels and thus prevent cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. , heart attack or stroke.

In addition, the leaves and roots of this vegetable contain fibers that reduce the absorption of fats from food, which helps control cholesterol levels, thereby preventing cardiovascular disease.

5. Avoid Diabetes

Chicory leaves and roots are rich in fiber, which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and controls blood glucose levels, reducing insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes.

6. Improve liver function

Because it is rich in inulin, flavonoids, chicory acid, and sesquiterpene lactones such as lactucin and lactupicrin, for example, chicory root stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile, improving liver function.

7. Keep your eyes healthy

Because it is a vegetable rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, chicory supports eye health by protecting the eyes from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and blue light emitted by electronic devices, thereby preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.

8. Get rid of excess gas in the intestines

Because it has a carminative effect, chicory, in the form of a tea made from its root, helps reduce excess intestinal gas that can cause pain or abdominal cramps.

9. Avoid Muscle and Joint Pain

Chicory root contains chlorogenic acid and sesquiterpene lactones, phenolic compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent muscle and joint pain caused by, for example, arthritis or gout.

10. Improve kidney function

Chicory, mainly its roots and flowers, has a diuretic effect, which, for example, helps improve kidney function and fight body edema.

11. Relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety

Chicory root has a calming effect on the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and helping to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety.

12. Strengthen the immune system

Chicory is rich in antioxidants such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, gallic, chicory and chlorogenic acids, which prevent damage to the body’s protective cells by free radicals, improving their functioning and strengthening the immune system.

13. Prevent premature aging

As an antioxidant, chicory helps fight free radical damage to skin cells, which prevents wrinkles, sagging and premature aging.

14. Strengthens bones

Vitamin K, saccharides and flavonoids present in chicory leaves help improve the absorption of calcium, which is an important mineral for strong bones and also prevents osteoporosis.

Nutrition information table

The following table provides nutritional information for 100g raw and cooked chicory:

In order to get all the benefits of chicory, it is important to include this vegetable in a healthy diet associated with regular exercise.

How to consume and use

Chicory leaves can be eaten raw or cooked to make salads, juices, stir-fries, cakes, and soups.

On the other hand, the root and flower of this plant can be used, for example, to make tea, decoction and coffee. Chicory root can also be roasted and ground to make “chicory coffee”, which is a coffee-flavoured beverage.

1. Chicory tea

Chicory tea can be used to combat constipation, maintain a healthy gut microbiota, reduce excess intestinal gas, and stimulate the digestive system and liver.


  • 1 teaspoon dried chicory root;
  • 1 glass of water.

Cooking method:

Place the ingredients in a container and bring to a boil over a fire. Then reduce the heat and hold for 3 minutes. Strain, let it brew, and then drink. You can drink 2 to 3 cups of this tea per day.

2. Chicory decoction

A decoction of chicory can be prepared from the roots, leaves, and flowers of this plant to treat kidney or liver problems, excessive gas in the intestines, or indigestion.


  • from 15 to 30 g of a mixture of roots, leaves and flowers of chicory;
  • 1 liter of water.

Cooking method:

Place the ingredients in a bowl and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then strain, let it brew and drink 1 glass of decoction before lunch and before dinner.

3. Coffee with chicory

Coffee with chicory is prepared from the roots of this plant, this is an option for those people who are contraindicated in the use of caffeine.


  • 1 or 2 teaspoons fine powder of dried chicory root;
  • 1 glass of water.

Cooking method:

Cut dried chicory roots and bake at 180ºC until golden brown. Then remove from the oven, let cool and place in a coffee grinder to grind into a powder.

To make coffee, you can use 1-2 teaspoons of fine powder of dried chicory root in a glass of water. Thus, the water should be brought to a boil, put the filter in a coffee strainer and chicory powder, and then strain.

Healthy recipes with chicory

Some healthy recipes with chicory leaves are stir-fries, salads, and juices.

1. Fried radicchio


  • Fresh crushed chicory leaves, pre-washed;
  • 1 chopped onion;
  • 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves.

Cooking method:

Add the chicory leaves to the pot with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Then drain the water. In another pot, add garlic and onion with a drizzle of olive oil and heat until browned. Add chicory and simmer for a few minutes. Let cool and then serve.

2. Chicory salad with yogurt


  • 1 bunch of chicory;
  • 1 medium onion;
  • 3 oranges;
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint;
  • 1 and ⅓ tablespoon of lemon juice;
  • 170 g unsweetened natural yogurt;
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

Cooking method:

For dressing, place chopped mint, lemon juice, yogurt, salt, and black pepper in a bowl, mix well with a spoon, and set aside.

Rinse and dry the chicory leaves well, chop them and put them in a bowl. Cut the onion into rings and add them to the bowl. Peel and cut the oranges into slices and place them in a bowl. Add dressing to salad and serve afterwards.

3. Chicory juice


  • 1 radicchio leaf, washed
  • 200 ml of water.

Cooking method:

Cut the chicory leaf by hand and place it in a blender. Add water and stir until smooth juice is obtained. Then drink the juice, preferably without straining or sweetening.

This juice can be taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite, or after a meal to stimulate the digestive process.

Possible side effects

When consumed in excess, chicory leaves can cause intestinal gas, persistent belching, or bloating.

The use of chicory in teas or decoctions should only be done under the guidance of a physician or herbalist, as the safety and long-term side effects of using this plant for medicinal purposes are not yet known.


Chicory should not be consumed by people with intestinal or bile duct obstruction, gallstones, or in cases of diarrhea and fever.

During pregnancy, chicory should not be consumed in large quantities, in the form of tea, coffee or decoction, as it can cause bleeding or abortion. Breastfeeding women should consume tea, coffee or chicory tea only under the guidance of a physician, as the effect of this plant on lactation is not yet known.

Similarly, chicory should not be consumed by people who are allergic to this plant or to other plants such as daisies or chrysanthemums.

Chicory should be discontinued 2 weeks before any surgery or dental procedure as it may interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery.

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