Chicory Root Dietary Fiber

chicroy-rrotA key health ingredient of Just Like Sugar is chicory (inulin) root dietary fiber which is recognized as a pre-biotic and pro-biotic food. Chicory inulin is shown to be a “non-digestible oligosaccharide”, that is, a carbohydrate that cannot be digested, and therefore, has no measurable glycemic effect in the system.

Chicory extract is made from drying and grinding the chicory and is used in high fiber diet as supplement or food additive. The grinded chicory is mixed with water that filter out all the soluble elements. The chicory root is a naturally occurring polysaccharide plant fiber that is rich in inulin.

Having a taste similar to coffee, chicory is many times wrongly synonym with coffee, but does not contain any caffeine. The chicory granules are sometimes use as substitute of coffee but the extract from plant root is quiet differently used from granules.

The extract is is used for the treatment of number of ailments, which includes:

  • Stiff joints
  • Rheumatism
  • Upset stomach
  • Gout

The extract works as laxative and diuretic and helps in cleansing the liver, kidneys and gall bladder. It also works as blood cleanser and is used as blood purifying tonic from thousands of years.

Roots of the chicory plant is baked and grounded and is used as substitute of coffee. The plant is native to Mediterranean region and is also very much known in India. It is also used in parts of Southeast Asia, South Africa and southern United States, particularly in New Orleans.

The extract is widely used as coffee in areas with poor economic condition and gain much popularity in 1930s during the Great Depression. During the period of “coffee crisis” in 1976-79, Chicory, with sugar beet and rye was used as an ingredient of the East German Mischkaffee (mixed coffee). The roasted chicory is used for adding flavor to stouts. It is also added to strong blond Belgian-style ales, to augment the hops, making a “witloofbier”, from the Dutch name for the plant.

Inulin

It is found that inulin, a polysaccharide similar to starch is contained in chicory roots. This polysaccharide is mainly found in Asteraceae plant family in the form of storage carbohydrate.

In food industry, the inulin is used as sweetening agent with having 1/10 power of sucrose and is added to yogurts as prebiotic. Through hydrolysis, the inulin is converted into fructose and glucose. It is also gaining popularity as a functional food and soluble dietary fiber.