Radicchio, like other chicory class of vegetables, is very low in calories. 100 g fresh leaves carry just 23 calories.
The bitter principle in the radicchio is lactucopicrin (intybin), a sesquiterpene lactone. Lactucopicrin is a potent anti-malarial agent and has a sedative and analgesic (painkiller) effect.
Its leaves are an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, and lutein. 100 grams leaves provide 8832 µg of these pigments. Zeaxanthin is a xanthophyll category of flavonoid carotenoid (yellow pigment) which concentrates mainly in the central part of the retina in humans. Together with lutein, it helps protect eyes from age-related macular disease (ARMD) by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
Fresh leaves hold moderate amounts of essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
Fresh radicchio is one of the excellent sources of vitamin-K. 100 g provides about 255.2 µg or 212% of daily recommended values. Vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteoblastic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Further, sufficient vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain. It thus has an established role in the treatment of patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.