Chicory root contains dietary fibers called fructans and inulin, which have a beneficial effect on cultures of symbiotic bacteria that live in the small and large intestines of humans. Symbiotic, or “friendly,” bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria ensure healthy digestion, inhibit pathogens like candida and support immune function. In a study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” in 1998, researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium tested fructans and inulin from chicory root in bacterial cultures. Chicory root had a significant effect on bifidobacteria, providing food for the bacteria and enabling cultures to grow faster. Researchers concluded that chicory root and its fructans and inulin are probiotic and will benefit the growth of bifidobacteria in the human gut.