Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is a perennial herb from the Cichorium genus, Asteraceae family, and is worldwide cultivated. So far, chicory has been used mainly in animal feed, but also in several cases in the food industry: as salad, for teas and tea blends, for coffee supplementation, and as a source for the inulin production. Nowadays there is an increasing interest in chicory utilization for food production and supplementation. Some compounds present in chicory, such as polyphenols, inulin, oligofructose and sesquiterpene lactones may be considered as potential carriers of food functionality. This review describes nutritional, mineral and bioactive composition of the chicory plant and summarized the main biological activities associated with the presence of bioactive compounds in the different plant parts. Finally, the review explores possibilities of uses of chicory and its implementation in food products, with intention to design new functional foods.
Keywords: Bioactive compounds; Biological activity; Chicory; Food; Nutritional composition.
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