The red variety can be harder to find but yellow is a perfectly suitable alternative. If you are wondering how to add chicory to your diet, you can add its leaves to a salad where the tart flavour adds crunch to an extra virgin olive oil-based dressing.
Chicory does belong to the Asteraceae family with sunflowers and dandelions and has been used throughout Europe for millennia as both a food and a medicine. Although chicory contains no huge amounts of any one nutrient, it can claim small amounts of the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals, the most prominent being vitamins C and A, selenium, manganese, fiber, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as the sirtuin-activating nutrient Luteolin.
Chicory can be eaten raw or cooked. Although called chicory in the UK, it is more commonly known as Chicon or Witloof (meaning white leaf) in Belgium and is called Endive in the US.
Chicory is a woody, herbaceous plant that has a wealth of researched health benefits.They include the ability to ease digestive problems, prevent heartburn, reduce arthritic pains, detoxify the liver and gallbladder, prevent bacterial infections, boost the immune system, and reduce the chance of heart disease. It is also a natural sedative and can protect against kidney stones, and benefit attempts to lose weight. All in all, this small plant is a powerful addition to any diet.
Chicory is probably better known to many people for its roots which can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute. Chicory is native to France, where it has long been loved for culinary reasons so it’s only natural that’s where it originated.
It’s interesting that a large range of Chicory coffees are available.