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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.
Nutritional Value Of Radicchio
100 g of radicchio has 93.14 g water, 23 kcal energy and it also contains:
- 1.43 g protein
- 0.25 g fat
- 4.48 g carbohydrate
- 0.9 g fibre
- 0.6 g sugar
- 19 mg calcium
- 0.57 mg iron
- 13 mg magnesium
- 40 mg phosphorus
- 302 mg potassium
- 22 mg sodium
- 0.62 mg zinc
- 0.341 mg copper
- 0.138 mg manganese
- 0.9 mcg selenium
- 8 mg vitamin C
- 0.016 mg thiamin
- 0.028 mg riboflavin
- 0.255 mg niacin
- 0.269 mg pantothenic acid
- 0.057 mg vitamin B6
- 60 mcg folate
- 10.9 mg choline
- 27 IU vitamin A
- 2.26 mg vitamin E
- 255.2 mcg vitamin K
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.
6. Lowers blood pressure
The high potassium content in radicchio can help in lowering high blood pressure. Potassium eliminates excess salt out from the kidneys and helps in regulating the amount of fluid in the body, this helps in reducing blood pressure.
7. Improves digestive health
Radicchio contains a significant amount of fibre that can help in regulating proper digestion. Fibre can also reduce the occurrence of constipation, bloating and flatulence by keeping your bowel movements regular .
8. Fights infections
The anti-parasitic effects of radicchio can help fight infections in the gastrointestinal tract caused by parasites. Studies have shown that radicchio exhibits antimalarial and anti-parasitic activity in animals .
How To Select And Store Radicchio
Choose organic radicchio that is bright red in colour with prominent white veins. Avoid the leafy vegetable if it is bruised, wilted or spoilt.
Keep the raw, unwashed radicchio in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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.
Sauteed Radicchio 
- 1 radicchio
- 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!