Wartime Coffee Substitute Fights Diabetes and Arthritis

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

Many folks (myself included) can’t think of anything worse than a morning without coffee.

And as we’ve mentioned here in Living Well Daily many times, coffee isn’t just the best part of your morning — it’s also jampacked with powerful compounds that can thwart off ailments like cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart issues. So there is good reason to drink it besides for the pick-me-up.

But there’s another morning brew that could boost your health and even protect you from diabetes and arthritis…

It’s a powerful root that’s been used as a coffee replacement and additive for centuries and is now being recognized for its potent health-boosting powers.

--Smart Substitution

It’s called chicory, the root of a blue flowering plant, and it’s been making its way into America’s coffee cups since the 1800s.

Left: chicory root Right: chicory flowers

You see, when the city of New Orleans was under siege during the American Civil War, coffee supplies dwindled to near nothing. However, inventive locals stretched out their coffee supplies by adding roasted chicory root.

While it lacks caffeine, chicory root is cheap and tasty and makes a great addition to coffee. So even after the supply lines were reopened, citizens of New Orleans kept chicory in their coffee. In fact, chicory coffee is still available in many New Orleans restaurants.

But what folks didn’t realize at the time, adding this earthy root to their coffee wasn’t just padding the supply. It was also boosting their health.

In more recent years, chicory root has been the subject of many health studies. It’s been shown to reduce inflammation, delay or prevent the onset of diabetes, and even help folks’ arthritis.

In one study, folks who took chicory root extract saw improved A1c levels, which is an indicator of diabetes. In addition, researchers found that chicory also significantly improved adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a protein that’s involved in regulating glucose levels. Both of these findings indicated that enjoying chicory regularly could thwart the development and/or onset of diabetes.

Another study found that chicory root also improves arthritis symptoms. A clinical trial done by the Rheumatic Diseases Division at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine shows that chicory root may also be able to combat the painful symptoms of arthritis.

When people aged 50 or older who had osteoarthritis of the hip or knee took chicory, some showed a 20 percent improvement in pain and stiffness. This means chicory root might help reduce the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis.

Perhaps of all these incredible abilities, reducing inflammation is the key to chicory’s powers, since it’s full of plant polyphenols that can stomp out inflammation and curtail its effects on the body. This is so important because inflammation is considered the gateway to many chronic diseases.

Chicory is easy to get. You can look for it in health food store or online retailer websites. In addition, there are a few coffee makers that offer coffee and chicory blends. The most popular is Cafe Du Monde, and their coffees are available through their website, CafeDuMonde.com

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] 13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science

[2] The History of the Chicory Coffee Mix That New Orleans Made Its Own

[3] Effects of the extract from roasted chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) root containing inulin-type fructans on blood glucose, lipid metabolism, and fecal properties.

[4] Phase 1, placebo-controlled, dose escalation trial of chicory root extract in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

View More Free Articles

30-Second Trick FIGHTS Heart Failure

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, About 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure. When you visit your mainstream doc’s office, he’ll tell you that heart failure is the result of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight, lung problems, and heart valve problems. It can make you feel like your health...

Read This

Stamped envelopes.

Mailbag! 10 Tips to Conquer Spinal Arthritis

I have arthritis in my spine. What would you suggest to help manage it? –George from Cedar Rapids, IA George, Believe it or not, many people learn that they have spinal arthritis as they age. It’s very common. There’s a lot you can do to help keep it from advancing or even reverse some of...

Read This

Calm Anxiety WITHOUT Drugs (Easy!)

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, There is a plague of anxiety sweeping the nation. And who could blame us? Anyone with half a brain SHOULD feel anxious about the state of the world. But like any other epidemic, just because something is going around doesn’t mean you should accept it. More importantly, having anxiety does...

Read This

“Food Reboot” HALTS Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you or someone you love suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), you already know how the disease can turn your life upside down. The stiffness and mobility problems slowly strip away your independence… and leave you in pain. Talk to your mainstream doc and he’ll just shrug their shoulders –...

Read This

[Men] Do You Have the Breast Cancer Gene?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, If you’re a woman, chances are you have heard about the BRCA gene (BReast CAncer gene). Scientists have known for a long time that a mutation in one of two breast cancer genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2, increases the risk of getting breast cancer. But, men, listen up – just because...

Read This

Greek Plant Extract SOOTHES Joint Pain

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Some people might shrug when you tell them you have knee pain… but that’s only if they haven’t experienced firsthand. Chronic pain from osteoarthritis is no joke— it can destroy your life. Joint pain makes moving incredibly difficult and can keep you from doing the things you love. Before you know it,...

Read This

Deadly Disease 8 TIMES More Likely for Crohn’s Patients

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Inflammation is supposed to be a normal response for your body. It’s one of the key defenses protecting you. Inflammation can sometimes be our friend… when it helps fight off infections and clears away debris, that is. The problems start when inflammation blazes out of control or lasts longer than...

Read This

Stamped envelopes.

Mailbag! 5 Ways to Soothe Your Psoriasis

I have psoriasis, and I was wondering what supplements or natural treatments there are out there. –Bill from Riverside, CA Bill, As you probably know, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body attacks the skin as if it were a foreign invader. Psoriasis affects about two percent of the U.S. population. Normal, healthy...

Read This

Coffee Compound LOWERS Cholesterol

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, I’m on a personal mission to rescue coffee from the hands of the nutritional puritans who think that anything fun is not good for you. Despite what the mainstream would have you believe, the news on coffee has improved in recent years. Researchers have pinpointed many powerful plant nutrients, like...

Read This

“Citric Element” Whips Your Brain into Shape!

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Some suggest pretty complicated ways to keep your brain healthy as you age. Going back to college… doing complicated puzzles… taking what feels like 30 bottles of pills a day… It can make you feel like giving up before you’ve even started! But what if there was something MUCH easier...

Read This