Benefits of radicchio
. Radicchio (pronounced radeekyoh) is a leaf chicory, sometimes called Italian chicory, and is a perennial. Radicchio (Cichorium intybus) is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has whiteveined red or purple leaves and it belongs to theAsteraceaefamily. Radicchio in general, has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when grilled or roasted. Radicchio has been in existence since ancient times and Pliny the Elder, the ancient Roman philosopher, praised radicchio for its medicinal properties, claiming that it was useful as a blood purifier and an aid for insomniacs. He was definitely on to something because when Italian scientists recently tested radicchio phenol content it scored high!
. Radicchio (Cichorium intybus) of the Asteraceae family, also known as Italian chicoryis a leafy vegetable with whiteveined red leaves. It has a characteristic bitter and spicy taste which reduces after grilling or roasting. The following are the various health benefits associated with this vegetable plant.
. Pliny the Elderclaimed radicchio was useful as abloodpurifier and an aid forinsomniacsinNaturalis Historia. In fact, radicchio containsintybin, a sedative/analgesic, as well as a type offlavonoidcalledanthocyaninwhich is used for makingdyesensitized solar cells.
. The varieties of radicchio are named after the Italian regions where they originate: the most ubiquitous variety in the United States is radicchio diChioggia, which is maroon, round, and about the size of a grapefruit. Radicchio is burgundyred with white streaks. Its light when you hold it in your hand and soft to the touch. The price ranges from $36 a pound.
Nutritional Content of Radicchio
. Radicchio rosso diTrevisoresembles a large redBelgian endive. Radicchio (pronounced raDEEKeeo) is a leafy member of the chicory family, often called Italian chicory, which explains its bold, bitter flavor. Although its compact like red cabbage, radicchios leaves are thinner and more tender unlike red cabbages firm and waxy texture.
Excellent source of vitamin K
. Radicchio is an excellent source of vitamin K which has an important role in bone healthy promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strength) activity. Further, adequate vitamin K levels which can be got by consuming radicchio helps limit neuronal damage in the brain and is thus an established treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimers disease.
Excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants
. Radicchio is an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein which are known to offer protection to age related macular disease by filtering harmful ultraviolet rays. radicchio pairs best with sweet, salty and acidic ingredients such as oranges, prosciutto and balsamic vinegar. Thats why this early spring Radicchio and Orange Salad with CitrusChampagne Vinaigrette, is so pleasing.
High fiber content
. Radicchio aids digestion and colon cleansing by its high fiber content. Also radicchio has been used to fight intestinal worms and parasites to great effect. An Italian relative of chicory, radicchio is a forced crop and has distinctive red and white leaves. The exact nature of its colouring depends upon how much light it has been exposed to when growing if none at all, the contrast between the white ribs and the deep red leaves will be very strong. If it has seen some light, the white and red will be softened with patches of green or copper.
Antioxidant and energy Boost
. Radicchio is packed with antioxidants and high energy. The dark, red radicchio for instant, fares well in the antioxidant score at 3537 per every 100grams. Shaped like a small cabbage, its mainly used in salads, and its bitter flavour contrasts well with milder leaves such as rocket. The leaves themselves are tender but the heads are sturdy enough to be cut and grilled.
. Radicchio helps in the metabolism which is useful for the wellness of the body. Metabolism refers to the bodys rate of conversion of food from one form to another. A member of the Composite or Asteraceae family Green radicchio is more commonly known as Sugarloaf chicory or Pain de Sucre in French and Blanc di Milan in Italian. Botanically part of Cichorium intybus, Green radicchio is a perennial heading variety of chicory that is most often grown as an annual. The most commonly grown varieties of radicchio in Italy today are radicchio Verde Selvatico and radicchio Verde Pan di Zucchero.
Battling Free Radicals
. Radicchio is quite effective in fighting free radicals in the body. Free radicals are responsible for damaging the DNA of cells, leading to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Radicchio fares well in the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) which helps in combating free radicals.
. Radicchio is rich in fiber hence helpful in management of weight. High fiber makes you full hence keep your desire to eat low; consequently, you will tend to eat less, losing on your weight gradually. With a shape similar to that of Treviso radicchio, Green radicchio looks very much like a head of Cos (Romaine) lettuce, with all of the bitterness and flavor of Radicchio. Pulling away the dark, oblongshaped green outer leaves reveals a light green to almost yellowishwhite center of tightly clustered leaves.
Rich in Minerals and Vitamins
. Radicchio is laden with various minerals such as Zinc, copper and magnesium. It is also rich in Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamins A and E. It is noteworthy that our bodies are able to absorb vitamins and minerals best when obtained from vegetables such as Radicchio as opposed to taking supplements.
. Bile is used in the digestive system whereby the bile salts help in the breakdown of fats and amino acids. In the process, it helps in reducing cholesterol in the body. Radicchio assists the body in the production of bile. Green radicchio is the mildest of the radicchio varieties. The flavor is sweet with a hint of bitterness and a distinct crisp, crunchy texture. Cooking Green radicchio will mellow its bitterness even more.
High blood pressure regulation
. The phytonutrients such as lycopene, Ellagic acid and quercitin are responsible for giving radicchio its color. This property is useful in the regulation of blood pressure and consequently, reducing Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is responsible for certain types of cancers.
. Radicchio, like other vegetableshigh in antioxidants, boost overall health, wellness, and energy. Dark red radicchio has an antioxidant score of 3,537 per 100 grams. Green radicchio can be used in fresh applications such as a salad or as an edible cup or wrap, it is also sturdy enough to hold up in cooked preparations. It can be grilled, baked, roasted, saut?ed, poached or boiled into soup, stews and risottos. Its hardiness makes it ideal as part of a bed of greens for grilled meats. Antioxidantrich foods support the bodys metabolism.
Radicchio is lactucopicrin
. The bitter principle in radicchio is lactucopicrin (intybin), a sesquiterpene lactone which is a potent antimalarial agent and has asedative and analgesic (painkiller) effect. Green radicchios subtle bitterness compliments fatty, salty and tart ingredients such as citrus, pears, cream based dressings, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pork, anchovies, garlic, polenta and robust cheeses. To store keep refrigerated in plastic and use within two to three weeks.
Metabolism and cellular processes
. Radicchio has 22% of the riboflavin you should consume every day. Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is an essential vitamin required for properenergy metabolism and cellular processes. Riboflavin aids in metabolizing respiratory proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.Riboflavin helps the body sustain healthful skin, nails, eyes, mouths, lips, and tongue. Riboflavin is important for normal vision and to prevent cataracts, and has helped some patients successfully treat migraine headaches.
Excellent source of phenolic flavonoid
. Radicchio is an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein which are known to offer protection to age related eye macular disease byfiltering harmful ultraviolet rays. The name Sugarloaf is a nod to the elongated shape of Green radicchio, resembling a solid conical form of sugar called
Naturally helps to regulate blood sugar levels
. Chicories, like radicchio, contain a substance called inulin, whichnaturally helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetes is linked to heart disease and stroke, so by controlling blood sugar levels with chicory patients canlower their risk of cardiovascular diseaseand complications.
Digestion and colon cleansing
. Health benefits of chicory include its effectiveness at fighting intestinal worms and parasites,aiding in digestion and colon cleansing, and helping to cleanse the blood, liver and circulatory system of harmful toxins. A healthy circulatory system supports overall fitness.
Quercetin and hesperidin
. The dark red color of radicchio is also important. The red color in fruits and vegetables denotes phytonutrients such aslycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin and hesperidin. Their phytochemical properties are beneficial inregulating blood pressure levels, lowering bad cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
Radicchio is a Healthy Treat
. Radicchio has several health properties that can give children and adults a healthy boost, from high levels of antioxidants, to dietary fiber, and an array of vitamins and minerals. One little serving (approximately 86 grams or 12 leaves) of radicchio has 11 % of your daily total dietary fiber and 10% of your daily recommended dosage of Vitamin C.
. Vitamins like A, B, C, and K are most easily absorbed and utilized by the body when consumed in foods, like radicchio. Vitamin K is vital for bone health, and it also appears to limit naturally occurring gradual neuron damage in the brain. Vitamin C boosts immune system health, promotes healing of all body cells, and detoxifies the body. Less known benefits of Vitamin C include: building collagen, supporting good bacteria in the gut, preventing the hardening of the arteries, neutralizing harmful environmental toxins, combating disease, and lowering cholesterol in the body.
Radicchio can help fight against malaria
. Radicchio is rich in the lactone lactucopicrin (intybin). A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital has suggested antimalarial activity of lactucopicrin found in radicchio. Green radicchio is native to the Veneto region of Italy. It is commonly found in the dishes of Milan and is used in the springtime in France. The hearty green grows best in the cool months, and its real flavor comes through in the harsher, cooler conditions. Green radicchio has even been known to grow under the snow.
Radicchio can help promote better eye health
. Although radicchio contains very low amounts of vitamin A, it possesses a high amount of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein. One hundred grams of the leaves provide 8832 micrograms of these compounds. Zeaxanthin concentrates mainly in the central retina in the eyes. Together with lutein, it helps protect eyes from agerelated macular disease by filtering harmful ultraviolet rays.
Radicchio can help assist in weight loss
. Radicchio is low in calories, while making consumers feel fuller without consuming more calories. One cup of radicchio contains only nine calories. This is a great food to eat to help one lose weight. . A nonforcing type of chicory Green radicchio is selfblanching and does not require a second growth period to produce a mild flavored and lightly hued heart of leaves. This variety of radicchio is not popular or widely grown in the United States, though it is seen more and more at local farmers markets and in CSA boxes.
Radicchio can help lower ones blood pressure
. Radicchio contains the phytonutrients lycopene, Ellagic acid and quercitin. Studies have shown to decrease the systolic blood pressure ? the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Radicchio also contains much more potassium than sodium. Potassium contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.
Radicchio can help the bones stay strong
. One cup of radicchio contains 128 percent of the needed vitamin K. Adequate vitamin K consumption acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. IT used to be that when a restaurant wanted to add bulk and a little class to an abysmal, slammedtogether salad, it sliced in some red cabbage. Well, highpriced greens are now getting the same treatment, as they are joined on the plate at fancy restaurants by the expensive, waxy, purplered leaves of radicchio.
Radicchio may improve brain health
. Several components of radicchio, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimers disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increase blood flow to the brain, and enhance cognition, concentration, and neural activity. One cup of radicchio contains 6 percent of the recommended daily needs of folate.
. Radicchio aids digestion and colon cleansing by its fiber content. Also, radicchio has been used to fight intestinal worms and parasites to great effect. Lastly, radicchio promotes bile production, which improves digestion and reduces cholesterol.
. Radicchio is easy to grow but performs best in spring (USDA Zone 8 and above) and fall (everywhere) gardens. It prefers more frequent but not deep watering, the amount of water varying based on soil type. Infrequent watering will lead to a more bitter tasting leaf. However, for fall crops the flavor is changed predominantly by the onset of cold weather (the colder, the mellower), which also initiates the heading and reddening process in traditional varieties. There are newer, selfheading varieties whose taste is not yet as good as a traditional variety which has matured through several frosts or freezes (e.g., Alouette).
. According to traditional folklore, longterm use of chicory as a coffee substitute may damage human retinal tissue, with dimming of vision over time and other long term effects. Modern scientific literature contains little or no evidence to support or refute this claim. Root chicory contains volatile oils similar to those found in plants in the related genusTanacetumwhich includesTansy, and is likewise effective at eliminating intestinal worms. All parts of the plant contain these volatile oils, with the majority of the toxic components concentrated in the plants root.
How to Choose Radicchio
. A head of radicchio is heavier than a similar sized head of lettuce, but much lighter than cabbage. The exterior leaves should look fresh and undamaged. The cut end can be slightly browning, but not dark and certainly shouldnt be icky looking in any way.
How to Store Radicchio
. Keep radicchio loosely wrapped in plastic in the vegetable drawer of a fridge for up to a week. Is the radicchio there for taste, to flaunt classiness or simply for a change of color? Too often, its the latter. Recipes that call for a leaf of radicchio in the presentation are hauntingly reminiscent of the lettuce cups of yesteryear. In using radicchio this way, a really sensational vegetable is abused.
How to Tame Radicchio
. Temper radicchios bitter edge by cooking it (see above)orserving it with sour things (vinegar, citrus juice, sour cream, salami), salty things (salt, olives, capers), or fatty things (oils, butter, cheeses, bacon) since they all chemically reduce the bitter compounds.
How to Highlight Radicchio
. Highlight radicchios bright and bitter flavor by pairing it with sweet (sugar, fruits, jams) or pungent (mustard, anchovies, blue cheese, black pepper) foods. They can stand up to the bitter edge of radicchio, brightening that forward flavor without masking it.
cool season vegetable
. At its natural habitat, radicchio is a coolseason vegetable. Althoughgrown in some parts of USA, a majority of it is imported from the Mediterranean, especially from Italy. Some of the varieties are grown locally and marketed year around in California state. If you grow in your home garden, ensure its edible head is blanched appropriately before harvesting (as in endives). In some parts, forced second growth (heads) are harvested, while its green, bitter, first heads discarded. To harvest, cut its round compact head off the root and trim away all its outer coppergreen leaves, just as in cabbage.
Preparation and serving methods
. Radicchio is used mainly as leafy salad vegetable. Raw leaves have been sharp, pungent in flavor. Exposure to more intense daylight makes its leaves bitter, which is somewhat mellowed once cooked. In any case, the question may not be, why radicchio, but which radicchio? Radicchio (pronounced radEEkeyo) is the Italian name for a goodsized group of red chicories. These are not lettuce or cabbage, neither of which can replace radicchios fleshy, slightly bitter chewiness.
. Radicchio can be safely eaten and has no caffeine content, eventhoughit belongs to chicory family vegetables. Radicchios are named after the towns in the Veneto region of northern Italy where most are grown. The one most popular in the United States, the darkred ball that looks like an undernourished cabbage, is Rosso da Verona. Now, however, many other kinds are becoming available; the price is usually $3 to $7.50 a pound.
Uses and Benefits
. Radicchio can be incorporated into any diet and provide the human body with the numerous health benefits. The most common way of consuming radicchio is in the form of salad. Radicchio can even be grown in a home garden. For those who do not like the taste of fresh radicchio it can be spiced up with balsamic vinegar, cheese, olive oil, butter, honey, anchovies, lemon, garlic or bacon. Belgian endive can also be used as a substitute for radicchio in numerous different kinds of recipes. Radicchio is very efficient in toning the liver and purifying the blood, due to its potent antioxidant properties. It can also come in very handy for all those who suffer from insomnia. Radicchio as we know it nowadays has been developed at the end of the nineteenth century as one of the healthiest leafy vegetables known to man.
Excellent source of minerals
. Radicchio is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, dietary fiber and all other sorts of essential nutrients. It is jam packed with antioxidant substances and it does not contain any cholesterol or fats. A serving of 100 grams of radicchio contains 23 calories, 0.9 micrograms of selenium, 4.5 grams of carbohydrates, 13 milligrams of selenium, 1 gram of sugar, 40 milligrams of phosphorus, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 302 milligrams of potassium, 1.5 grams of protein, 19 milligrams of calcium, 27 International Units of vitamin A, 8 milligrams of vitamin C, 255 micrograms of vitamin K, 2.3 milligrams of vitamin E and 60 micrograms of folic acid.
Radicchio is a red leafy type of vegetable
. Radicchio is a red leafy type of vegetable and it originates from Italy, so that is why it is also sometimes referred to as the Italian chicory. It is used for various types of salads because of its spicy and bitter taste. It can also be roasted, grilled or sauteed. Visually, it can be characterized by large red leaves with white veins.
. Fresh leaves hold moderate amounts of essential Bcomplex groups of vitamins such asfolic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
. Fresh radicchio is one of the excellent sources of vitamin K. 100 g provides about 255.2
Helps counter the hypertension effects
. Further, it isalso good source of minerals like manganese,copper, iron, zinc, and potassium. Manganese is used as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase.Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.
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