Witloof: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects

By homehealthup

November 12, 2023

Witloof is a popular vegetable in the Netherlands. In the United States, it is commonly known as Belgian endive. The great thing about this vegetable is that it is available year-round and is low in carbohydrates. It can be eaten raw or cooked in countless ways. Read on to learn about many ways you can use it.


Witloof, a crisp and mildly bitter leafy vegetable, adds a distinctive touch to salads and various dishes.

What Is Witloof?

Witloof is also known as endive, chicory, and endive. Its name comes from the Dutch word witloof, which means "white leaf." It is also known in Britain as chicory, which translates to "dandelion chicory." Its leaves are crisp and slightly bitter, but modern varieties have decreased this bitterness. Witloof is best paired with cheese and ham, making it a great salad addition.

Witloof is produced from seeds planted in fields when the soil temperature is acceptable. The seeds are monitored and cared for throughout the growing process until the plant is mature. Its root is then harvested and shipped back to the farm. It is then sorted into crates for freezing. The crates are then stored in cold storage until it is needed for the second growth stage.

Nutrition Facts of Witloof

A 100-gram serving of witloof contains 17 calories and 0.1 grams of total fat. This calorie content is based on a diet of 180-pound people. A person's nutrient needs will vary depending on age, gender, level of physical activity, and medical history. Therefore, it is essential to remember that these values are a guideline, not a substitute for expert medical advice. Also, remember that any food's nutritional value may vary depending on the preparation method.

Nutrition facts for 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of witloof include:

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g - 1 % of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Fiber: 3.1g - 11 % of the DV
  • Protein: 0.9g - 2 % of the DV
  • Calcium: 19mg - 1 % of the DV
  • Iron: 0.2mg - 1 % of the DV
  • Potassium: 211mg - 4 % of the DV

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is one of the 8 B vitamins. It helps maintain normal red blood cells and mucous membranes. It also plays a crucial role in energy-producing metabolism and the nervous system. A 100-gram serving of raw witloof contains 0.02 milligrams of Vitamin B-2 or about 1% of the recommended daily allowance for adults.

Witloof chicory is rich in Folate and contains trace amounts of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B2. It also contains trace amounts of Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B3. The recommended daily allowance of these nutrients for an adult will vary depending on age, gender, level of physical activity, and medical history. Therefore, it is essential to consult your doctor before consuming this food.

Zinc is an essential mineral that regulates body processes, including cellular repair. It also helps control blood sugar levels and helps the immune system function properly. A 100-gram serving of raw witloof contains approximately two milligrams of sodium, less than 1% of a healthy adult's recommended daily value.

Vitamin B12 is another essential nutrient. It participates in many metabolic processes, including the synthesis of DNA and oxygen/electron transport. It is found in foods such as spinach, broccoli, and witloof. One hundred-gram serving of raw witloof contains 0.24 milligrams of iron, which is about 1% of your daily recommended value for iron.

Health Benefits of Witloof

Witloof, also known as endive, has many health benefits. It is native to Belgium and spread across neighboring countries around the 18th century. Because it contains almost all water, it is a great diuretic. It is often used to treat cystitis and other kidney problems.

Witloof is an excellent source of fiber, iron, and potassium. It protects the digestive tract from multiple intestinal disorders and promotes heart health. It is also high in dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin K. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and contains antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Side Effects

While witloof, also known as Belgian endive or chicory, is praised for its crunchy texture and unique bitter taste, it's crucial to be aware of possible problems that might arise from eating it. Although witloof is generally considered safe for most people, there are a few things to remember.

Allergic Reactions

Witloof belongs to the same family as ragweed, marigolds, and daisies. You might also react to witloof if you're allergic to these plants. Symptoms can range from mild, like itching and hives, to more serious issues, such as difficulty breathing. If you know you're allergic to Asteraceae plants, be cautious and talk to a healthcare professional before adding witloof to your diet.

Stomach Discomfort

The bitter compounds in witloof may cause some people stomach discomfort. Bitterness triggers the production of gastric juices, which can lead to increased stomach acid. This might result in heartburn, indigestion, or abdominal discomfort, particularly for individuals with existing gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux or gastritis.

Interaction with Medications

Witloof contains compounds that could interfere with certain medications. If you're taking anticoagulant medications like warfarin, be careful, as witloof contains vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting. Consistent consumption of witloof could impact the effectiveness of these medications. If you're on medication, it's best to consult your healthcare provider to figure out a safe and suitable dietary plan.

Sensitivity to FODMAPs

Witloof contains fructans, fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs. Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other gastrointestinal conditions sensitive to FODMAPs may experience bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort after eating witloof. For those with FODMAP sensitivity, it might be wise to limit witloof intake or choose alternative vegetables.

Thyroid Function Concerns

Witloof contains goitrogens, compounds that can interfere with thyroid function. While Witloof's goitrogen levels are generally low, people with thyroid disorders should be mindful of their intake. Cooking witloof can help reduce goitrogen content, making it a safer option for those with thyroid concerns.

While witloof can be a tasty and healthy addition to many diets, individuals with specific health conditions or sensitivities should be cautious and seek advice from healthcare professionals before making it a regular part of their meals.

Tips for Choosing Witloof

When you're picking out witloof, whether you call it Belgian endive or chicory, you want to make sure you're getting the good stuff. Here's what to keep in mind for the best witloof experience:

Looks Matter

Go for tight and fresh witloof heads with crisp, light-colored leaves. Please avoid any witloof that seems droopy or has weird colors; that's a sign it might not be the freshest.

Check the Color

Aim for witloof that's all one pale yellow or cream color. It might be going bad if you see dark spots or colors that don't match.

Feel it Out

Give the witloof a gentle squeeze to feel its texture. You want it to be firm and solid, not mushy or soft. A soft witloof could mean it's too ripe.

Size Matters

Stick to medium to small-sized witloof heads. Smaller ones usually taste better and are less bitter, while bigger ones might pack more punch.

Take a Whiff

Give it a quick sniff. Fresh witloof should have a clean, slightly bitter smell. It might not be in the best shape if it smells off or strange.

Leaf Check

Look closely at the leaves for any signs of damage or wilting. Good witloof has crisp, colorful leaves without any spots or issues.

Storage Situation

Check where the witloof is stored in the store. It should be in a cool, dark place. Avoid any that have been sitting in too much light or heat.

Think About the Season

Keep in mind when Witloof is in season. While you can find it all year, it's usually best in the fall and winter. Buying it in season might mean better flavor and freshness.

By paying attention to these tips, you'll be a witloof pro, ensuring you bring home the tastiest and freshest bunch every time.

Tips for Preparing Witloof

When you're getting ready to cook witloof or Belgian endive, there are some steps you can take to make it taste even better. Check out these tips for a great cooking experience:

Trimming and Cleaning

First, cut off the base of the witloof to get rid of any brown parts. Gently separate the leaves, throwing away any that look wilted or messed up. Rinse the leaves under cold water to get rid of any dirt.

Soaking in Water

Try soaking the leaves in cold water for about 15 minutes for a crunchier witloof. This can freshen them up and take away some of the bitterness.

Blanching for Milder Flavor

If you want a less bitter taste, boil the witloof leaves for 1-2 minutes, then put them in cold water. It makes them less bitter while keeping them crisp.

Pairing with Dressings

Witloof goes well with lots of dressings. Try a light vinaigrette, honey mustard, or balsamic glaze to go with the slightly bitter taste.

Incorporating into Salads

Toss witloof leaves into salads for a different crunch. Their slightly bitter flavor works well with sweeter stuff like fruit or can balance out rich cheeses.

Grilling or Roasting

Give grilling or roasting witloof a shot for a different taste. The heat makes it a bit sweeter and adds a smoky flavor. Drizzle some olive oil, add salt and pepper, and grill or roast until the leaves are soft.

Sauteing for Warm Dishes

Cook witloof leaves in olive oil or butter for warm dishes. It softens the leaves and brings out their sweetness. Throw in some garlic or herbs for more flavor.

Incorporating into Wraps or Rolls

Use witloof leaves instead of regular wraps or rolls. They're strong enough to hold different fillings, making a low-carb and fresh option.

Balancing Bitterness

If witloof is too bitter, balance it with sweet stuff like honey, fruit, or caramelized onions.

Experimenting in Cooking

Feel free to play around with witloof in different dishes. It can be a standout in appetizers, side dishes, or a cool topping for pizzas.

These tips will help you make the most of Witloof's special qualities and use them in all kinds of tasty dishes.

Tips on Including Witloof in Meal

Witlof, a member of the Endive family, has a distinct bitter taste that is delicious with many different foods. It goes particularly well with robust cheeses, dressings, and sweet foods. Witlof is typically prepared as a salad vegetable but can also be served as a side dish.

Witloof is best cooked in oil. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Sprinkle witloof with sea salt and add lemon zest. Add wine around the witloof but not on it. Cook witloof until tender, and add lemon wedges to garnish.

Other names, including Belgian endive and chicory know Witloof. It is a delicious vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked in many different ways. In the Netherlands, witlof is most commonly served in an oven casserole. The vegetable also pairs well with blue cheese for a savory witlof pie.

Belgian endive is often prepared with ham, cheese, or bechamel sauce. Its mildly bitter flavor and moist texture make it a popular choice in Belgium. You can also serve witloof with blood sausage, a meat sausage mixed with blood and eaten raw.


About the author

Homehealthup is an avid researcher with a deep love of health. She specializes in writing research and reviews on new and essential topics in fitness and nutrition by thoroughly analyzing products based on user reviews, personal experiences, and feedback from forums.

Related posts

Watercress: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Onions: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Green Onions: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Yams: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Parsnips: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Pinto Beans: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, Side Effects