Is Chicory Coffee Good for You?

Find out whether chicory coffee is a healthy substitute for your regular brew

Woman drinking coffee
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If you are a coffee lover looking to cut back on your caffeine intake, chicory coffee is often touted as a healthy substitute to the standard brew. Made from the roasted and ground root of the chicory (Cichorium intybus) plant, this lower-caffeine alternative has a flavor that’s remarkably similar to the taste of regular coffee.

There are two types of chicory coffee. One type is caffeine-free, made entirely from chicory root or from chicory mixed with other caffeine-free ingredients. The other type, which contains caffeine, is made by brewing regular coffee combined with roasted, ground chicory root. The caffeine content of the latter type depends on the coffee to chicory ratio in the brew.

Because so few studies have explored the health effects of chicory coffee, little is known about the safety of long-term chicory coffee consumption. Still, sipping chicory coffee in moderation shouldn’t be a problem for most healthy people, although some people notice gas, bloating, or diarrhea after consuming a lot of chicory (due to the inulin content).

It should be noted that people with allergies to ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and related plants may experience an allergic reaction after drinking chicory coffee. If you have allergies, talk to your doctor before drinking chicory coffee.

Should You Drink Chicory Coffee Instead of Regular Coffee?

Although drinking too much regular coffee can have a negative impact on your health, coffee also has its share of health benefits. For example, studies have shown that regular coffee consumption may help fend off diabetes, keep your brain sharp as you age, and protect against depression.

Additionally, some research indicates that compounds found in regular coffee may help decrease oxidative stress, which is a destructive biological process linked to heart disease and other major health problems.

Still, overdoing it on caffeine can set you up for a host of health troubles, ranging from abnormal heart rhythms to anxiety. Therefore, many medical experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to 400 mg per day (the equivalent of about four cups of regular coffee).

Chicory is more water-soluble than coffee, so if you're making it you'll need to use a lot less of it (25 percent chicory to 75 percent coffee is often recommended if you are trying chicory for the first time).

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