Chicory greens nutrition and health benefits

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Chicory greens Quick Facts
Name: Chicory greens
Origin Europe, India, and Egypt
Colors Green
Shapes Stalked, lanceolate and unlobed
Taste Bitter and spicy
Calories 7 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin K (71.92%)
Vitamin A (11.86%)
Copper (9.56%)
Vitamin B9 (8.00%)
Vitamin C (7.78%)
Chicory scientifically known as Cichorium intybus is a woody and perennial herbaceous plant belonging to family Asteraceae with bright blue flowers which is rarely pink or white. Various varieties are cultured for salad leaves, chicons and roots which are ground, baked and also used as a substitute for coffee and also as food additive. In 21st century, an inulin which is an extract from chicory root is used in food manufacturing as a sweetener and dietary fiber source. Chicory is also cultivated as forage crop for livestock. It acts as a wild plant on roadsides in native Europe and is common in China, North America and Australia where it is naturalized widely. Chicory is a common name in United States for curly endive and these two species are closely associated that it is often confused.

Health Benefits of Chicory leaves

Chicory greens are a great source of niacin, thiamin and zinc. It is a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and copper. Though all leaves are edible but young ones are more preferred for consumption. Leaves resemble the dandelion plant. Leaves are loaded with flavor and some can be bitter. Raw chicory greens help to promote insulin sensitivity. Chicory leaves are a dietary choice for pre-diabetics and diabetics.

  1. Provide relieves constipation

Chicory is an excellent source of dietary fiber which prevents fat from foods consumed from being absorbed by intestines which indirectly assist weight loss. Dietary fibers add bulk to stools that encourages expulsion and provides relief from constipation. Fresh chicory offers 13% to 23% of dietary fiber. Insulin, a dietary fructans assist conditions such as diarrhea to non-insulin dependent diabetes.

  1. Probiotic activity

Chicory greens possess probiotic activity that helps to maintain digestive health. Chicory found in oligosaccharides upgrades fermentation in digestive tract that contributes to healthy gut flora. It also maintains digestive health by functioning optimally. Additionally, a same compound helps to inhibit formation of cancer in the colon.

  1. Antibacterial activity

Chicory leaves encompasses antibacterial properties effective to combat Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi bacteria and Escherichia coli.

  1. Anti-inflammatory activity

Apply the poultice prepared from crushed chicory leaves to skin to lower swelling. Plant preparations are used to promote bile production, promote appetite and used as contraceptive protection.

Culinary uses

  • Leaves are added to salads.
  • Young leaves are used as potherbs and cooked like spinach.
  • Raw leaves are dressed with mayonnaise or vinaigrete.
  • Add it to soups or serve as vegetable.

Selection and storage

  • Select the greens having pale center surrounded by firm shiny crisp leaves which are curly and vivid green.
  • Avoid tough, wilted and discolored yellow leaves.
  • Store the chicory greens in a plastic bag or wrap it in a damp paper loosely.

Safety profile

  • No side effects are known when used in moderate quantities.
  • In pregnant women, it stimulate menstruation and possibly lead to a miscarriage.
  • If you are pregnant there is a possibility that it can stimulate menstruation and possibly lead to a miscarriage.
  • People allergic to marigolds, ragweed and daisies should avoid it.
  • Too much intake of chicory could worsen gallstones so consult the doctor before adding it to diet.






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