Botanical name: Cichorium intybus L. var. foliosum
Other names: French endive, Endive, Witloof
French name: Endive
Spanish name: Achicoria Blanca, Endivia
Belgian endive are the leaves of the Belgian endive plant, Cichorium
intybus L. var. foliosum, a herbaceous plant of the botanical family
Properties and health benefits of Belgian endive
Belgian endive is a sort of artificially grown plant, which is grown in dark, humid and hot places. This makes it to be somehow white in color and lower in nutrients and some substances than other chicory varieties. It has a very pleasant smell and texture.
Belgian endive contains about 94.5% water, an amount very close to that of cucumber. It contains proteins in significant amounts, about 1% of its weight, an amount which is quite good for a fresh leafy vegetable. Belgian endive also contains carbohydrates in an amount less than a percentage of its total content, of which inulin predominates. However, this vegetable contains virtually no fat.
In terms of minerals, it contains significant amounts of potassium, and trace elements like manganese, zinc and copper. It also contains small amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Belgian endive contains very little amounts of vitamin A and C as opposed to its counterparts the green-leafed chicory, which are rich in these vitamins. However, Belgian endive is a rich source of folic acid, it provides 37 micrograms per 100 grams. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, and B6 in significant amounts.
Altogether, Belgian endive provides only 17 kcal /100 g of energy, one of the lowest amount any food can provide.
When eating Belgian endive, one may experience a slightly bitter taste, this taste is due to a substance that is also found in green-leafed chicory. These substances have been proved to have a choleretic and cholagogic action on the liver. The choleretic action involves an increase in bile production, while the cholagogic action involves facilitating the drainage of the gallbladder. These same substances found in Belgian endive also serves as a tonic and an aperitif for the stomach. Due to these substances and other nutritive components, the following are some medicinal uses of Belgian endive:
Belgian endive is considered a perfect food for the diabetics since it contains very few carbohydrates, and better still, the carbohydrates that are present are formed mainly of fructose, which is more tolerable by the diabetics.
* Gallbladder disorders
As we have seen above, Belgian endive contains a series of bitter substances which help increase bile production and facilitate the evacuation of the gallbladder. Moreover, it contains virtually no fat, thus, its consumption becomes recommended in cases of gallbladder disorders due to disruption of proper drainage, known as biliary dyskinesia, and also due to the presence of calculi, called cholelithiasis.
The inclusion of Belgian endive in weight-loss diets is highly recommended due to its provision of very few calories. Moreover, its consumption produces a feeling of satiety which makes you consume less.