While eating salads, you must have come across a reddish leaf along with lettuce and other greens.
This is called radicchio (Cichorium intybus), a red leafy vegetable that is known to have a bevy of health benefits.
Radicchio, belonging to the Asteraceae family is a leafy vegetable that has dark reddish-purple leaves with white veins and has a slightly bitter taste.
This leafy vegetable is also known as Italian chicory, red chicory or red endive and is often used in Italian dishes, salads, and added to nuts and fruits.
So, what makes radicchio different from other leafy vegetables? It is high in antioxidants and rich in other essential nutrients. Below are 5 health benefits of Radicchio:
1. Promotes heart health
Radicchio contains vitamin K, magnesium, and manganese that aids in lowering blood pressure, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow and prevents the build-up of plaque in the arteries. A study showed that the polyphenol compounds in radicchio has antiplatelet activity that helped improved circulation and prevented blood clots.
2. Manages cancer
Radicchio is high in phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins that help fight free radical damage that is responsible for the development of cancer. Studies have shown that anthocyanins can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
3. Supports healthy bones
Another benefit of radicchio is it helps in building and maintaining strong bones. It is due to the vitamin K content, which helps in regulating the accumulation of calcium in the body, thus enhancing bone strength and preventing the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
4. Assists eye health
Radicchio contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, the two essential antioxidants that are responsible for keeping your eyes healthy. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your eyes from harmful free radicals, thus preventing eye-related diseases.
5. Aids in weight loss
If you are looking to lose weight, include radicchio into your diet. This red leafy vegetable is low in calories which can satiate your appetite and keep you feeling full for a longer time. Add radicchio in your salads or juices.
Ways to add Radicchio into your diet
Remove the outer leaves and wash the head, chop them up and add them in salads, soups, pasta and risotto.
Shred radicchio and added them on the pizza.
Add the radicchio leaves with other green leafy veggies like spinach or kale to make a power-packed nutrient-dense vegetable juice.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
Wash the radicchio properly and cut them into fairly large pieces. Heat a pan and add oil. Add the radicchio and stir fry it. Sprinkle sea salt and sauté it for 8 minutes till it turns slightly brown. Serve hot and enjoy!
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé