Endive is a leafy green vegetable which is related to the daisy family. It is most often used raw in salads and the name is commonly used when referring to other greens such as chicory or radicchio. It is quite rich in vitamins and minerals—in particular folate, vitamins A, C and K, and is also high in dietary fiber when included within a raw food diet.
Endive that is narrow and green with curly outer leaves is referred to as curly while endive with broad pale leaves—and quite a bit less bitter, is commonly called escarole. Per head there is only about 90 calories. Combined with arugula, watercress and red leaf lettuce it makes a splendid green salad.
Either type of endive is a great source of vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus, and a good source of thiamin, calcium, riboflavin, zinc, pantothenic acid, iron, copper, potassium and manganese. Its vitamin A and C are both antioxidants that help guard the body against cancer and many cardiovascular diseases. It’s phytochemicals can lower cholesterol, detoxify blood and reduce blood pressure. It is also good for relieving allergies and has valuable properties for the skin—face, hands and feet. Its crisp taste is perfect for the raw diet.
Because it is very easy to grow and can be harvested throughout the year many grow their own in containers—especially given the nutrient value and its contribution to the Raw Diet. It can be eaten as loose leaves; or the mature heads can cultivated.