Escarole, a broad-leafed endive variety, resembles radicchio but imparts a less bitter taste. This cool weather vegetable, sometimes called Batavian endive or scarola, can be added to salads when it is picked young. More mature escarole is cooked as a side dish or used to make hearty soups; a popular variety includes escarole and meatballs, popular as an Italian dish.
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A 1 1/2-cup portion of raw, chopped escarole contains only 15 calories. Whether you use it as a salad green or a tasty side dish, this vegetable makes an excellent choice to include in your diet when you are trying to drop a few pounds. Be sure to develop your meal plan to combine escarole with a healthy grain or starchy vegetable, such as potatoes, and a low-fat protein -- turkey or fish, for instance -- to consume a balanced meal. Escarole has no fat and little protein; a 1 1/2-cup serving provides 1 gram. It does contain 3 grams carbohydrates, however. This amount will not meet your energy needs for the day -- carbs are your body's primary source of fuel -- so be sure to supplement your eating plan with foods that are rich in carbohydrates.
Escarole serves as a good source of dietary fiber, contributing 5.2 to 8 percent of the amount you should consume each day. Fiber plays a critical role in the health of your bowels, decreasing your risk of developing constipation, diarrhea and diverticulitis. Fiber, sometimes referred to as roughage, can also make your stomach feel fuller -- this, in turn, can help you eat fewer calories, aiding in weight loss. Although fiber is important to your diet, consuming too much before your system is ready for it may result in gas and bloating. Add fiber to your diet slowly until you reach the recommended amount of 25 to 38 grams per day.
Vitamins and Minerals
One serving of escarole supplies you with 30 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. This vitamin, an antioxidant, wards off damage to your cells and tissues caused by free radicals and helps repair any damage. It also helps your body manufacture collagen, a substance found in your ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin and blood vessels. Escarole also contains 4 percent of the daily recommended value of iron and calcium. Every cell in your body needs iron, and it helps make sure your body gets enough oxygen -- without an adequate intake, you could become tired, dizzy and suffer from headaches. Calcium helps maintain the function of your heart, nerves and muscles, and it promotes strong teeth and bones.
Because escarole contains no fat, it has a place in any low-fat diet. Research published in the January 2011 edition of the "Journal of American Dietitian Association" indicates that women who eat less fat have a lower risk of developing breast cancer and spend less on health care than women who consume more than 36.8 grams of fat per day. Add escarole to your diet if you or your partner are trying to conceive a child -- it serves as a good source of folate, a vitamin that may help ward off birth defects. The American Pregnancy Association recommends boosting your intake of folate, also called folic acid, prior to getting pregnant to decrease your chances of having a fetus with neural tube defects of the spine.