Endives are an excellent source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and E as well as calcium, copper, fibre, folate, inulin, iron and manganese.
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.
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.
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.
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 favourite home crafted 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 milk and cheese. I love them simply braised in stock and finished with little butter and fresh fennel tips 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.”