Radicchio has been a part of human food since ancient times when it was eaten for its amazing medicinal properties. The cultivation of this gorgeous vegetable started around the 15th century in Italy. The different varieties of this plant are named after the different regions of Italy where they originated.
Chioggia is one of the most common varieties that are grown. These maroon plants have grape-fruit sized heads, and the Treviso variety is a more elongated version of the Chioggia radicchio. The other two varieties, Castelfranco and Tardivo, are usually harvested in the colder months of the year.
Radicchio is related to the Belgian endive and is most commonly confused with the purple cabbage and lettuce. It is related to the slightly bitter and spicy chicory. Radicchio has been a staple in the diets of monks due to its signature flavor. It was a much-favored vegetable among the Roman and Greek philosophers and medical doctors.
The variety of radicchio that is available today is the result of a whitening process known as imbianchimento which is normally applied to Belgian endive. The outer layers of leaves are removed from the plant before it kept in darkened rooms, and its roots are constantly washed with fresh spring water at the specific temperature of 15 C.
Radicchio is seasonal and is available in the winter. Radicchio is now grown in the Napa Valley, California. It is extremely beneficial for the digestive system as it contains compounds that stimulate appetite. Here are 11 reasons why you need to add radicchio to your diet:
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Radicchio
Radicchio is a perennial leafy vegetable which is packed full of exceptional nutrients. It has many minerals and vitamins that are necessary for a healthy body and disease prevention. Every 100 grams of radicchio contains 302 mg of potassium, 4.5 grams of carbohydrates, 0.9 grams of dietary fiber, 22mg of sodium and 1.4 grams of protein. It also provides about 5% of vitamin B6, 1% calcium, 3% magnesium and 13 % vitamin C based on the daily requirements of adults. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants which are essential for the immunity of the body.
2. Prevents Cancer
Chronic diseases such as cancer should be prevented at all costs and nutrition is the way to go. Treatment and prevention through a natural diet is the best way to avert the risk of cancer. Radicchio is one of the natural and whole foods that can reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer. Radicchio has been used for its purifying properties since the time ancient medicine was developed.
It is beneficial for people who have liver cancer, as it fights hep-G2. The best way to get the maximum antioxidants is by buying it organic. Studies are showing the effect of plant-based sugars found in radicchio on colon cancer. If radicchio is added to the diet of people who are in the early stages of colon cancer, it will help avert the sickness.
3. A Healthy Heart
The Mediterranean Diet is known for its ability to keep the body healthy without damaging it through food. Some of the food choices that we make are not the healthiest. Radicchio in salads is a staple in the Mediterranean diet; this helps manage weight and blood cholesterol which negates the risk of an unhealthy heart. People who eat radicchio on a daily basis reduce the risk of a heart attack by 45 %. In a study conducted on rodents, it was observed that radicchio reduced the lesion size on the hearts which were damaged and reduced inflammation.
Antioxidants are a man’s best friends in the food kingdom. This is what protects the body from the damage that the environment and bad eating habits can do. The liver protecting properties of radicchio can be attributed to the high amounts of antioxidants that are present in the vegetable.
These antioxidants fight free radical damage and protect the liver from the damage that free radicals cause to it. Radicchio contains high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin which have a positive effect on the eyes and protects the retina from oxidative stress. It contains up to 3.5 grams of lutein preserving which is a good source of keeping your eyes healthy.
5. Stronger Bones
Bone mineral density is what protects the human body from bone-related diseases. Radicchio not only contains calcium but is also rich in vitamin with 255.2mcg per 100grams of serving. Vitamin K is responsible for keeping the bones healthy and preventing diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Vitamin K also helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently.
Potential studies are being carried out to confirm the effect of it on parasites. A study conducted in 2016b on swine indicated that eating radicchio can effect roundworms and cause them to kill themselves. Further study may reveal the benefits of this plant to reduce parasitic growths.
The use of radicchio has been in practice since ancient medicine it was used to treat insomnia and calm the mind. Its sedative qualities make it the best treatment for people suffering from insomnia. Radicchio contains lactucopicrin which is an anti-malarial element with analgesic and sedative properties. This can also be useful in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.
It is very beneficial for digestion, as it boosts the production of bile and helps the body break down the food molecules to extract nutrients better. Problems such as indigestion and constipation can be treated by eating radicchio in moderation. The dietary fiber helps regulate the bowel movements and cleanses the stomach from within.
A 100 gram serving of radicchio provides up to 0.6 mg of iron which makes up 3 5 of the daily requirement. People suffering from anemia can add this to their diet to promote a healthy level of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Adding salads prepared with radicchio can be a good way of getting more iron into your body.
10. Healthy Brain
The vitamin K present in it is a treasure of health benefits not only is it excellent for bone health but also helps the brain function better. Vitamin K promotes neuron health in the brain which improves memory and prevents diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
11. Immunity Booster
Vitamin C is the key to building a healthy immunity; radicchio provides up to 13% of the daily requirements making it an excellent choice for common colds and infections. Vitamin C also promotes detoxification and helps the body with digestion. Vitamin C promotes collagen production in the skin cells, fighting the oxidative stress that free radicals cause and preventing aging.
In A Nutshell
Eating healthy is better than taking artificial supplements; make sure to add lots of leafy vegetables to your diet for a healthy body and mind. Radicchio is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins that the body needs.