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Health Benefits of Escarole

Escarole is a member of the chicory family of lettuces and is characterized by large, dark-green leaves that have a mild flavor and crisp texture. Like romaine, leaf lettuce and other dark green, leafy lettuces, escarole is a powerhouse of nutrition. Each 1-cup serving of escarole is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds. Together, these nutrients can help decrease the risk of developing a number of serious medical problems. To get the maximum health benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises eating dark, leafy green vegetables, such as escarole, regularly.

Dietary Fiber
An entire head of escarole lettuce contains about 16 grams of dietary fiber, while a 1-cup serving of the shredded, raw lettuce provides approximately 1 gram of dietary fiber. This amount supplies 4 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult woman, and 2.6 percent of the RDA of fiber for an adult man. According to, a diet with a high intake of fiber-rich foods like escarole will yield a variety of health benefits. A 2009 review of nutrition research published in “Nutrition Reviews” reported that regularly eating dietary fiber may help prevent stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and high blood cholesterol.

Similar to its close cousin romaine lettuce, escarole lettuce contains a high concentration of vitamin A and vitamin K. Each 1-cup serving of escarole provides about 4,000 international units of vitamin A, which is over 100 percent of the RDA of the vitamin for both men and women. Consuming plenty of vitamin A is linked to a decreased risk of cancer and osteoporosis. Escarole’s nearly 50 micrograms of vitamin K per serving supplies between 60 and 74 percent of an adult’s daily vitamin K requirement. Researchers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service say that leafy green vegetables like escarole are one of the best sources of vitamin K, which is essential in proper blood clotting. Escarole also contains approximately 1.9 milligrams of vitamin C and 64 micrograms of folate. These vitamins support immune and neurological system health.

Each 1-cup serving of escarole lettuce contains about 16 milligrams of calcium — 1.6 percent of the RDA of calcium for all adults — and 0.46 milligrams of iron. This amount of iron fulfills 6 percent of the RDA of the mineral for men and 2.5 percent of a woman’s RDA of iron. Escarole is also rich in potassium, with its 116 milligrams of potassium per serving equaling 2.4 percent of the mineral’s RDA. Foods like escarole that are high in iron, calcium and potassium may help prevent osteoporosis and hypertension.

According to The American Institute for Cancer Research, dark green, leafy vegetables such as escarole contain a high concentration of a variety of carotenoid compounds, including flavonoids, saponins, zeaxanthin and lutein. Carotenoids act as antioxidants by inhibiting the ability of free radicals to damage DNA. The carotenoids in escarole may help maintain the health of the macula and lens in the eye, and may prevent the development of cancers like stomach, lung, colon, skin and breast cancer.

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