Unfortunately, Charles found that herbal tea was not quite the substitute she craved. “While I love herbal teas, there’s something about that first morning cuppa that begs for richness and thickness,” Charles says. Her solution is nothing short of genius: A four-ingredient latte made with a blend of chicory and dandelion roots, coconut milk (which provides the irresistible thickness Charles refers to), and a dash of cinnamon. “This AIP dandelion chicory latte is rich and creamy with a great depth of flavor without the dairy and caffeine,” she writes.
The star of the drink is chicory root, a plant in the daisy family that has been long used as a caffeine-free coffee alternative and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. But Charles' anti-inflammatory chicory latte recipe offers major digestive benefits, too. That’s because both chicory and dandelion are potent sources of inulin, a type of soluble prebiotic fiber. Like other prebiotics, inulin supports beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
“Chicory and dandelion and both food for your gut because they're such strong sources of prebiotic fiber,” says Amanda Sauceda, RD, a gut health expert. “Essentially, prebiotics act as 'food' or 'fuel' for your good gut bacteria, which means they help you maintain a balanced gut microbiome.”
In addition to promoting digestion, Sauceda says prebiotics like inulin can produce short chain fatty acids, which help keep the lining of your gut strong. “This is why you often see gut health connected with immunity or you hear the term ‘leaky gut,’” Sauceda says. “We want to keep that barrier tight. And prebiotics can be a fuel for the gut bacteria that can help maintain that barrier.”
By virtue of being caffeine-free, Charles' chicory latte recipe also figures to be less dehydrating than a typical cup of coffee. This is because caffeine is a known diuretic and can cause inflammation in the body. Additionally, Sauceda notes that starting your day with a drink rich in fiber and coconut milk is more satisfying and energizing than a simple black cup of joe. “Fiber helps to both slow down digestion and keep your blood sugar stable,” she says. “Coconut milk has some good fat in it, which will also help power you through those morning meetings.” (Just don't make the mistake of skipping breakfast on days you sip this soothing beverage—coffee ain't a meal, folks!)
For added flavor, Charles likes to finish off her chicory-based morning latte with a dash of cinnamon. While an optional step, it can potentially have big benefits: There is scientific research that suggests that cinnamon has not just anti-inflammatory properties, but also antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antitumor effects. It's also rich in polyphenols, a compound that has been shown to reduce levels of triglyceride (a bad form of cholesterol) in the blood. “Cinnamon can have very powerful effects even in small amounts, especially if this is something that you're drinking every morning—it all adds up,” Sauceda says.
Here’s how to whip up the anti-inflammatory chicory latte recipe from Heal Me Delicious. (FYI: While Charles says that she enjoys the process of roasting the chicory and dandelion roots herself, she also notes that they are also available pre-roasted if you’d rather skip that step for the sake of saving time in the morning.)
Anti-inflammatory dandelion and chicory Latte recipe from Heal Me Delicious
2 tsp roasted dandelion root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1/4 cup coconut milk, steamed
Dash of cinnamon
1. If not already roasted, roast dandelion and chicory in a heated skillet for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until they’re giving off a toasted aroma.
2. Place the dandelion and chicory root in a tea pot or French press and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place full fat, additive-free coconut milk into a milk steamer. Steam until frothy.
4. Pour steeped tea into mugs and top with frothed milk and dash of cinnamon.
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