Endive is a leafy vegetable with the scientific name Cichorium endivia. There are two types of endives: Curly and escarole. Curly endive has a narrow leaf and is sometimes called chicory. Escarole is a broad-leafed endive that is less bitter than the curly type. No matter which type of endive you choose, eating this vegetable adds a big boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber to your diet.
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The nutritional values in this article are based on a portion size of one half cup of chopped endive that weighs 25 grams. However, the best way to immediately illustrate the nutritional potential of endive is to first look at the values for a full head weighing 513 grams. A head of endive only has 87 calories but provides 64 grams of dietary fiber, 20 to 46 percent of the total recommended daily values (DV) of each of eight minerals and three vitamins, and 56 percent DV of vitamin C. It also contains 182 percent of folate, 222 percent of vitamin A, and 1,481 percent DV of vitamin K. This is a highly nutritious vegetable.
A half-cup serving size of endive barely has measurable calories (only four) yet it provides three percent DV of fiber and one percent DV of protein. It has a small amount of carbohydrates (0.84 grams), sugars (0.06 grams), and total fat (0.05 grams).
When the serving size drops to one half cup, the only B vitamin that is still provided in a substantial amount is folate (9 percent DV). The other B vitamins are still there, but in such small quantities that the percentage of daily values drop to two for pantothenic acid, one for thiamin and riboflavin, and just a trace of niacin, vitamins B6 and B12. It also provides one percent DV of vitamin E. However, even at this serving size, endive is still a good source of vitamin K (72 percent DV) and vitamin A (11 percent DV) and you’ll still gain three percent of the daily value of vitamin C.
A half cup of endive provides five percent of the daily value of manganese and two percent of potassium. Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper are all available at a DV of one percent.
Endive provides several other important nutrients. It contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While they’re only available in trace amounts in a one half cup serving, the complete head of endive has 66.7 mg of omega-3 and 385 mg of omega-6. Choline is a nutrient that’s important for nerve transmission, cell structure, and reducing levels of homocysteine. One half cup of endive provides 4.2 mg of choline.