Endive, known as witlof and belgium endive, high in calcium and can even dissolve kidney stones, read on for more amazing benefits

Witloof, Belgian endive

Witloof, Belgian endive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Endives are an excellent source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and E as well as calcium, copper, fibre, folate, inulin, iron and manganese

WELLNESS

This elegant stalky vegetable has snuck into the hearts, minds and health consciousness of many fitness-forward individuals due to its unique taste and numerous health benefits including but not limited to

Alzheimer’s disease Medical studies have shown that regular ingestion of vitamin E, as prevalent in endives, may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease

Healthy bones and teeth The high calcium content in endives is crucial for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth and keeping osteoporosis at bay

 Cancer prevention Vitamin E is said to help prevent prostate cancer.  Vitamin A can help prevent lung and oral cavity cancer.  The wealth of fibre in endives is exceedingly helpful in keeping the colon clean and preventing colon cancer.  Calcium is also said to play an important role in warding off breast and ovarian cancers

Digestive health Endives are rich in fibre with just one of these vegetables containing a boastful 16 grams of fibre!  This fibre promotes healthy digestion and can ease constipation and even dissolve kidney stones

Healthy vision Vitamin A is a wonderful protectant against cataracts and helps promote high visual acuity

Heart health Endives are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, which make them a heart-friendly food that can stave off coronary disease.  The inulin inherent in endives can help control LDL cholesterol levels.  Potassium helps counter hypertension

Immune system Vitamin C is an ever-important immune system booster and helps fight off detrimental bacteria and viruses in our bodies

Pregnancy The folate found in endives plays a part in helping protect babies from being born with birth defects

BEAUTY

 Antioxidant properties The vitamins A and B carotene found in endives have antioxidant abilities that can successfully combat cell-damaging free radicals and produce smooth, glowing skin

    WEIGHT LOSS

 Fat and fibre Endives are fibre-rich and eating fibre is an excellent way for dieters to keep themselves feeling full and satisfied and far less likely to overeat at meals or indulge in unhealthy snacks.  Fibre will help flush waste out of your system and promote regular, healthy weight loss.  And endives are very low in calories and fat, which is always good news for steadfast waist watchers.

COOKING

 When purchasing endives in the market, look for ones that are crisp and have pale yellow-green tips

Naturally, one gets the most nutrients by consuming endives in their natural state.   Endives are wildly popular in gourmet health salads for their slightly bitter crunch that is well complimented by sweet fruits and tangy vinaigrettes.   As an appetizer, endives are the perfect serving vessels and can be filled with a sumptuous crab dip or a tantalizing smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese.

However, if you are after more than a salad and craving some hot home cooking, you will still reap nutritional benefits by deftly incorporating endives into warm side dishes or entrees.  When sautéed or braised, endives make for an interesting topping on your favorite homecrafted pizza or a pleasing accompaniment to roast chicken or baked salmon

I was lucky enough to be trained by a belgium chef where endive was a focus on our menus. There are many traditional dishes, the classic Belgian endive and ham au gratin but some are not so healthy. You can make a luscious baked comfort food casserole by concocting the béchamel sauce with low fat milk and cheese, and utilizing lean, low-sodium ham to wrap around the endives.  It is irresistible.  Enjoy!

 

Interesting fact about the endive:  The endive was so popular in 1800’s Europe that it was often lovingly referred to as “white gold.”

endive appetizer

endive appetizer (Photo credit: jamailac)

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