Smooth chicory heads are
to help minimize the
symptoms of arthritis, and
their fiber content is a
prebiotic for digestive health.
Pale heads of chicory, with their slightly bitter and distinctive flavor, make an ideal addition to a salad. Chicory is blanched during growing by being covered to remove light, as otherwise it would be almost too bitter to eat. It is this bitterness that is linked with the vegetable’s beneficial coumarin and lactucin compounds. The anti-inflammatory chemicals they contain can relieve conditions such as gout and arthritis and are said to be sedative. Chicory also contains a special type of fiber, called inulin, which acts as a prebiotic in the digestive system, stimulating the “good” bacteria essential for gut health. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, boosts the immune system, and can increase “good” cholesterol and reduce “bad” cholesterol.
- Prebiotic for gut health.
- Regulates blood sugar levels.
- Improves blood cholesterol profile.
- Mildly sedative and anti-inflammatory.
- May be mildly laxative.
Raw chicory is good in salads with orange or pear segments, and is good braised. Chicory heads (chicons) are sensitive to light—keep wrapped in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Brush the leaves with lemon juice or vinegar to prevent discoloration.
DID YOU KNOW?
The root of the chicory plant is long and thick, like the taproot of the dandelion. When dried, roasted, and ground, it makes an excellent substitute for coffee.