The red tardive Radicchio di Treviso IGP has many health benefits. It is rich in fibre, mineral salts, polyphenols, vitamins and amino acids. Especially the bitter substances, which give it the unmistakable flavour, bring great benefits.
The tardive, red Radicchio of Treviso,
source of health and well-being
Dr. Giulio A. Santoro, President of SICCR (Italian Society of colon-rectal surgery) describes the Flower of Health’s many and important benefits:
Red radicchio was already known by the Greeks and Romans, who attributed to it curative properties for insomnia due to its tryptophan content; Pliny the Elder describes it as “friend of the liver” in his “Naturalis Historia” work. This vegetable, whose botanical name is “Cichorium intybus”, belongs to the Composite family, Chicories’ group. It is believed that radicchio, which grew freely in the Far East, was introduced in Europe around the fifteenth century. From the sixteenth century it began to be grown in the Veneto region too, where it spread rather rapidly, so that today it is considered an exclusive specialty of “Treviso’s province”.
Under the nutritional and functional aspect, early or tardive radicchio, thanks to the elements of which it is composed, is an endless source of well-being. It prevents aging diseases and has considerable purifying, diuretic, tonic and laxative properties thanks to its unique composition. Starting with the high amount of water which it contains (approximately 92-94%) and by the reduced number of calories, only 23 per 100 grams. It is therefore very useful in a low-calorie and detoxifying diet while the fibres in it have also the property of retaining blood sugars and for this reason it is recommended to patients with type 2 diabetes.
The detoxifying effect and the stimulating purification of the body from toxins (due to its action on the functions of the liver) is determined by the typical and characteristic bitter taste of this vegetable, which is full of useful substances such as mineral salts (potassium , magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, copper, calcium, zinc, manganese), bitter properties, sugars, amino acids (arginine, phenylalanine, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, histidine, leucine, lysine, tryptophan, valine) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K and J). This excellent relationship between antioxidant effect elements such as folic acid, calcium and potassium, the purifying and detoxifying properties and the presence of polyphenols, create a set of benefits that make it an antioxidant, able to prevent early aging and cancer of the intestine, also thanks to the wealth of fibres that facilitate evacuation.
Here is a list of radicchio’s main health properties
- It contains calcium and iron that have beneficial effects on bone metabolism and help with a better balance in blood pressure, so its use is, therefore, recommended in case of demineralization of the body.
- It facilitates digestion, bile secretion and urine elimination, thanks to its mineral salts and bitter substances that stimulate the gastric juices’ secretion.
- It limits cholesterol’s absorption and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease due the presence of inulin, a vegetable fibre contained in its leaves.
- It is effective in fighting constipation, thanks to the large amount of cellulose which promotes intestinal peristalsis.
- Thanks to the action of its antioxidants it has beneficial effects in people who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism or psoriasis. As it does not contain gluten, it is also recommended in the diets of people with celiac disease.
Radicchio’s typical red colour is due to the presence of anthocyanins (polyphenols with anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy and anti-viral properties). These substances are very helpful in maintaining the health of blood vessels and in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, particularly ischemic heart disease. We must also remember the “beauty” look of radicchio, enjoyed in infusions, syrup or tisanes or used for the production of cosmetics targeting hair care and skin. Treviso’s red Radicchio, in conclusion, represents a real mine of antioxidants needed to fight free radicals and cell aging, but also of many other nutrients necessary for a balanced diet aimed to reduce the risk of disease and lifestyle improvement. For this reason it is recommended by the Italian Society of Colorectal Surgery. A supreme meeting of health and taste!
Dr. Giulio A. Santoro
Responsible for the Pelvic Floor, Surgical Department, Treviso’s Regional Hospital