Coffee is arguably the national drink of the United States. After all, Americans drink an average of three cups of coffee daily, and over half of U.S. adults have coffee every day, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Altogether, the U.S. spends $40 billion on coffee every single year. In short, Americans *love* coffee.
There’s just one little problem: Coffee is an intense drink. Coffee has health benefits and is perfectly tolerated by most people, but the high quantities of caffeine and acidity brew trouble for some coffee lovers, who may experience a range of unpleasant symptoms after a cup of their beloved joe.
Luckily, a caffeine-free, herbal alternative to coffee is increasing in popularity—although it’s been around for ages. Chicory root coffee is made from ground up and roasted chicory root, which grows in the ground and looks like a large parsnip. It’s not coffee at all, but it somehow takes on a coffee-like flavor.
Some people drink this herbal chicory root coffee just because they like its smooth flavor, but others make the switch to deal with one or more of these four common health problems:
1. Heartburn or GERD
The acidity and caffeine in coffee can trigger symptoms or make heartburn worse, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Because of coffee’s acidity, switching to decaf may not totally eliminate symptoms after a coffee break. Here are other sneaky foods that may trigger heartburn.
Chicory root coffee, on the other hand, is less acidic and naturally caffeine-free.
Everyone knows that caffeine can stimulate the digestive tract and trigger a #2, but for some people, this stimulation can actually lead to unpleasant diarrhea episodes, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If your morning joe keeps upsetting your stomach, chicory root coffee is much gentler (not to mention caffeine-free) and may help.
3. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Additionally, coffee may lead to IBS pain and cramping. That’s because nerves in the gut “panic” or overreact in response to the stimulated digestion. Chicory root coffee may be gentler on these sensitive stomachs by not triggering that response.
As everyone already knows, too much coffee can keep you up at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, “too much coffee” doesn’t have a cut-and-dry definition, and even a latte at 2 P.M. could be enough to keep some people staring at the ceiling at 2 A.M. (Here are other innocent habits that may be giving you insomnia.)
By cutting out caffeine, chicory root coffee may help you get your much-needed Zzzs.
If your morning brew is grinding your health, chicory root coffee may be worth a shot. You can get them in teabag form, or you can find ground chicory root that can be brewed using your favorite coffee-brewing method. Just make sure to avoid sabotaging your coffee with loads of sugar and cream.