Escarole is a type of endive with broad, flat leaves. While the two species may differ slightly in appearance, their nutritional content is the same. Escarole is simple to plant and maintain in a home garden and offers numerous nutritional benefits. The fact that it contains vitamins, minerals and is diet friendly makes escarole a leafy green that you should consider adding to your menu.
Vitamin K Content
Vitamin K's chief role in the body is clot formation. Without the proper levels of vitamin K, a simple cut may lead to life-threatening blood loss. Other functions of vitamin K, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, include cell growth and healthy bones. Even though vitamin K is fat soluble, the body actually stores very little of it, requiring regular intake through foods. The USDA National Nutrient Database reports that a 1/2 cup serving of escarole provides 57.8 mcg of vitamin K, or 72 percent of the recommended daily intake established by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Vitamin A Content
Escarole contains vitamin A in the form of beta carotene and retinol. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that intake of vitamin A through vegetables such as escarole can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Vitamin A also helps treat macular degeneration of the eye and scleroderma, a condition of the skin characterized by hardening of skin tissue. A 1/2 cup serving of escarole contains 542 IUs of vitamin A, or 11 percent of the recommended daily intake.
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements explains that folate is a water soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body and must be taken in daily. Folate has many functions including the production and protection of new blood cells and the production and protection of DNA. The ODS also states that folate's ability to protect DNA can protect the body from developing cancer. A 1/2 cup serving of escarole has 36 mg of folate or 9 percent of the RDI.
More Vitamins and Minerals
Escarole's benefits don't stop with vitamins A, K and folate. Other vitamins found in the 1/2 cup serving are vitamin C, E and B vitamins. Minerals include calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium. While these vitamins and minerals are found in escarole in trace amounts, they contribute to your daily intake and your body's overall health. Fat free, low carb and containing only 4 calories, a 1/2 cup serving of escarole is an excellent addition to any diet plan. Add escarole to salads, sandwiches or cook it up in casseroles, soups or as a side dish.