19 September 2011

My Cuppa Joe...

Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Beignets
Chicory dates back 5,000 years and was referred to in the days of Cleopatra and Napoleon. A charming plant with azure-blue flowers, chicory has grown along the Nile River for thousands of years. Egyptians used chicory for the heart, and Romans believed it kept the blood pure. In France, chicory leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. The root of this age-old plant is the part most commonly used, though. Early herbalists made a tonic from chicory root, said to protect the liver from effects caused by excessive coffee drinking. Also called "succory," chicory root is best known today as a key ingredient in the famous coffee blends from New Orleans. The roasted root has an aroma like coffee, but chicory contains no caffeine, making it a satisfying alternative (or additive) to coffee.
It was thought of not only as a beverage but as a vegetable, and praised for its medicinal like effect on the digestive tract. Introduced to the American colonies by the governor of Massachusetts in 1785, it became a common household product - served as an herb beverage and as a hot or cold vegetable at mealtime. In recent years, it has been preferred as a caffeine free beverage and as a great way to enhance, enrich and extend ground roast coffee.
Today the chicory plant is grown commercially for it's roots, rather than its beautiful flower. The roots are sliced, kiln-dried, roasted, and ground into a powder before being served. The Acadians brought chicory to Louisiana in the 1800′s, and it was used in New Orleans during the Civil War to stretch the unpredictable coffee supply which resulted from the Union’s Naval Blockade of the Mississippi River. Chicory coffee is still a staple in New Orleans and surrounding areas.  I suppose my ancestral roots are showing because I simply love it. Chicory adds a bittersweet taste to coffee, it is usually served with milk or cream au lait style and I always drink it with Almond Milk and a little sugar. Chicory Has Some Amazing Health Benefits Chicory consists mainly of fructose, protein, and natural fiber and is considered a prebiotic, which cleanses the body of toxins and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Prebiotics are food substances that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines and supports the natural functioning of the digestive system. In her post Why Prebiotics are Essential to Your Heart Health & Immune System, nutritional consultant, Donna Gates, states…
Prebiotics are one of the newest fields of nutritional research and offer promising benefits for your heart, your immunity and more. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of healthy microflora that populate your large intestine. When these healthy microflora (beneficial bacteria) are allowed to flourish, they help keep you healthy and strong.


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