Endive, most popularly known as escarole is a nutritional green leafy vegetable that is used a great deal in salads. Although having a slight bitter taste, this vegetable is packed with a huge list of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Endives come in two types – curly endive and Escalore. As the name suggest, the curly type has curly and narrow leaves while Escalore has broad leaves and is less bitter than curly endive. No matter the type of endive, adding this vegetable to your regular diet can provide your body with all the essential nutrients.
Nutritional profile of endive
Similar to most other leafy vegetables, endive is also very low in calories. A 100 g serving of this vegetable provides only about 17 grams of calories. However, it is an excellent source of fiber and inulin that helps in controlling blood sugar levels and in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. Endive also has an abundance of many important vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and B complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. This vegetable is enriched with minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. Apart from these, endive provides other important nutrients as well such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Health benefits of endive
Endive is packed with numerous nutrients that help you lead a healthy life. Some of the important benefits of this leafy green are described below.
Endive and its skin benefits
The skin is the largest organ in your body. Since it is the visible part of the body, it is always exposed to environmental pollutants and microbes. Therefore keeping your skin clean and healthy is of utmost importance. Acne is a common skin problem that many people struggle with. Drinking the juice of endive is known to be beneficial in getting rid of acne. It also helps in detoxifying your body, which is another way to keep your skin healthy.
Endive is also used as a remedy for scleroderma, a skin condition characterized by the hardening of tissues in different areas of the skin. The high level of vitamin A in this vegetable is helpful in eliminating this condition and in bringing back the normal texture of your skin.
Another skin benefit of endive is that it helps in keeping your skin well hydrated and smooth. It is a good source of vitamin E that helps in maintaining the moisture level of the skin. Thus incorporating this amazing vegetable in your daily diet can keep your skin hydrated and looking young and supple.
Endive and its hair benefits
As with all the other parts of your body, your hair also needs special care and attention to prevent hair fall and other hair problems. Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining healthy and strong hair. Just like your skin, your hair is also constantly being exposed to dirt and pollutants. Endive is a wonderful leafy green that protects your hair from damage.
The high amount of Vitamin A in endive plays a vital role in promoting strong and thick hair. It also keeps your scalp moisturized by maintaining its oil balance. This helps in preventing conditions like dandruff and dry scalp. Endive is an excellent source of vitamin E that provides countless benefits to the healthy growth of hair. It improves blood circulation in the scalp thus promoting hair growth. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys the dangerous free radicals and helps in preventing early aging and premature graying of hair. Vitamin E is helpful in making your hair lustrous and also in preventing the occurrence of split ends.
Endive is a remedy for asthma
Endive has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect you from different kinds of respiratory problems including asthma. An effective home-made remedy that includes this vegetable can be easily prepared for preventing asthma. It involves blending together the fresh leaves of endive, pieces of carrot and celery leaves. Regular intake of this juice can help in preventing acute asthma attacks.
Endive promotes digestive health
Endives are rich in dietary fibers, which aids in digestion and in making your bowel movements normal. Fiber adds bulk to your stools and helps in its easy removal from the intestinal tract. Hence endive is a great food option for dealing with digestive problems like indigestion and constipation. Consumption of endive right before a meal helps in stimulating your appetite.
Endive keeps your heart healthy
Endive plays a key role in enhancing your cardiac health as it is rich in nutrients that are heart healthy. It is very low in cholesterol and saturated fat, which makes it good for your heart. Endive contains high levels of inulin which helps in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoprotein). The abundance of the mineral potassium in this vegetable helps in reducing high blood pressure by minimizing the effects of salts or sodium. By controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, endive goes a long way in protecting your heart from heart attacks and heart diseases.
Endive helps in fighting off cancer
Endive is a very good source of vitamin C and vitamin E, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help in eliminating free radicals that cause cell damage leading to diseases like cancer. Vitamin E is effective in preventing prostate cancer. Endive also has high levels of vitamin A, which plays an important role in preventing lung and oral cavity cancers. This vegetable is enriched with dietary fiber that is effective in protecting you from colon cancer. Studies reveal that other important nutrients in endive like calcium helps in preventing various other types of cancers like colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Endive is good for your eyes
Endive is an excellent source of beta-carotene (a pre-cursor to vitamin A) and vitamin A that ensures good and proper eye health. Eating endive or drinking its juice regularly can help in preventing eye problems like cataract, age related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Endive as a detoxifying agent
The fresh juice of endive can provide excellent detoxification to your body. It helps in eliminating the toxic substances from your liver by stimulating the gall bladder to release the right amount of bile.
Endive for stronger bones and teeth
Regular consumption of endive can strengthen your teeth and bones. This vegetable has high content of calcium, a mineral which is associated with the health of your teeth and bones. In addition to calcium, it also contains other bone building minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. All these minerals make your bone strong and healthy, thereby protecting you from conditions like osteoporosis.
Endive helps you lose weight
Incorporating raw endive in your regular diet is a great way to ensure weight loss. Being very low in calories, this vegetable is extremely beneficial for people struggling with too much body weight. The high levels of fiber in endive gives you the feeling of fullness which stays with you for a longer period of time, thus preventing you from overeating or indulging in frequent snacks. Thus the regular consumption of endive or drinking fresh endive juice can help in making your weight loss journey easier.
Endive for Alzheimer’s disease
According to research, daily intake of vitamin E may be beneficial in slowing down the functional decline for people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Endive is loaded with vitamin E and hence its regular consumption can help you have a healthy neural system and also combat Alzheimer’s disease.
Endive is good for pregnant women
Endive is highly recommended for pregnant women as it provides excellent nutrition for both the fetus and mother. The high levels of folate found in this vegetable helps in preventing birth defects in babies such as neural tube defects.
Endive makes your immune system strong
Endive can boost your immune system because of the presence of high levels of the antioxidant vitamin C. This vitamin strengthens your immunity and helps in warding off diseases causing germs and microbes. As a result you are protected from the frequent attacks of common cold and flu.
Endive helps in regulating blood sugar levels
Endive is a great food option for people suffering from diabetes because of its low calorie content and high amounts of dietary fiber. Since it is a low glycemic vegetable, it does not cause significant changes in the blood glucose levels. Endive helps in regulating blood sugar levels and hence can be safely included in the diet of a diabetic person.
Selection and storage of endive
Endive is easily available in markets all through the year. When buying this vegetable, make sure to choose the ones that have tender and crispy leaves. Do not buy endive with yellow and discolored leaves. After buying, store them in a plastic bag inside the refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for 4 to 5 days.
Endive is a versatile vegetable loaded with plenty of nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Very simple to prepare and available all throughout the year, this vegetable can be enjoyed raw or cooked. With a wonderful taste and a huge list of health benefits, endive helps in improving your overall health.Image Credits: Flickr - Purpletwinkie, Flickr - Ricardo Pradilla, Flickr - Harald Walker, Flickr - Ana Hruby