Often, folks ask me if there is a healthy caffeine-free substitute for coffee that actually tastes like coffee. While that rich, dark coffee flavor is completely unique to the coffee bean, the closest alternative I have found is the deep, dark flavor of roasted chicory root. And instead of perpetuating the sleep deprivation cycle and weakening bones by creating an acidic body like coffee does (sorry, lovers), chicory root has a list of health benefits a mile long.
Coffee is enjoyed for many reasons by many lovely people and I get it—flavor, ritual, memories, emotion, and of course, the stimulation it delivers. But if you are ready to try something new and more beneficial for your body, chicory root may be just the alternative YU’ve been waiting for.
Why Chicory Root?
Flavor. I am a big fan of the taste of roasted dandelion root and roasted maca for health-boosting coffee alternatives—but I am also someone who never really got into the habit of drinking coffee (I’m not sure how I dodged that one, especially in my partytime days). And real coffee drinkers—while they enjoy the taste of those alternatives—usually end up saying to me “I like it a lot, but it’s not coffee.” Roasted chicory root, however, elicits the “now this chicory root stuff I can get into” response that’s music to my ears. It’s deep, dark, roasted, slightly bitter, rich—the closest to coffee flavor I have found.
Some history. Chicory root has a long standing reputation as a cleansing medicinal herb. Ancient Romans used the root to help purify the blood. Ancient Egyptians also consumed the root to clean the blood and detoxify the liver. Medieval monks raised the plants and it is widely used in Europe. Even in southern states like New Orleans (Confederate soldiers drank it during the Civil War, getting in at the ports) it’s a coffee substitute.
Health-Boosting Bennies. Where to begin?
• Chicory root supports digestion, and the breakdown/metabolism of fats by increasing bile production
• It contains inulin which is food (a.k.a. prebiotic, a soluble fiber that people cannot digest) for beneficial digestive flora (a.k.a. probiotics)—boosting immunity
• Inulin can regulate blood sugar levels and pulls toxins from the body when we visit the bathroom
• Chicory is full of antioxidants
• It reduces inflammation in the body
• Studies show that it’s antibacterial and antifungal
• Helps reduce heart rate and has been used use in the treatment of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), arrhythmia and fibrillation
• Helps boost digestion and relieve constipation
It even looks like coffee…
• Combine it with roasted dandelion root and/or roasted maca for extra rejuvenating benefits and complex flavor
• To make a tea, steep 1 tbsp of roasted chicory root (or your blend with maca/dandie) in a large mug/cup of boiling water for 7-10 minutes (sweeten with blended date puree, honey, maple syrup or sucanat)
• Top it with the almond milk latte foam from this Chia Tea recipe
Ready to give it a try? Shout your new discovery from the rooftops “I’m kicking coffee with roasted chicory root!”
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The Global Healing Center
Petrovic J, Stanojkovic A, Comic Lj, Curcic S. Antibacterial activity of Cichorium intybus
Mares D, Romagnoli C, Tosi B, Andreotti E, Chillemi G, Poli F. Chicory extracts from Cichorium intybus L. as potential antifungals