Chicory Root Fiber
Chicory is a plant grown for its edible salad leaves and hearty root. The root is sometimes roasted and ground and used in place of coffee—it has a similar taste, is much cheaper to produce, and is naturally caffeine-free for those who can’t tolerate regular brews. Traditional “chicory coffee” is a blend of coffee and the root. It’s a favorite beverage in New Orleans, where it’s often served with a large helping of warm milk—a method called au lait , from the French for “with milk.” Chicory is also high in the soluble fiber inulin. Manufacturers extract inulin from chicory root and add it to many different products, especially fiber bars, cereals, and granolas. Its natural sweetness and smooth, palatable texture make it an attractive supplement for people put off by blander, drier fiber. The problem is, because its taste and texture make it easy to sneak into chocolate-covered breakfast bars or sugary cereals, it is easy to eat too much. This can cause gas, cramping, bloating, and other digestive issues.
Chicory coffee is a popular beverage at New Orleans restaurants like Café du Monde, where it is often served with a type of square donut called a beignet.
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