Leek is a vegetable that belongs to the genus Allium. But, unlike its fellow members, onions and garlic, leeks do not form bulbs.
The edible part of the plant leek is a bundle of leaf sheaths known as the stalk or stem. While leeks may not be well-known as compared to garlic and onions, these contain several health benefits that are similar to those two.
Nutritional Content of Leeks:
100 grams of leeks contain about 1.5g protein, 14g carbohydrates, 83g water and minimal fat. Also, leeks are a good source of several nutrients and vitamins including vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, vitamin K, manganese and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Leeks:
1. Bone Health
Leeks are a rich source of magnesium and calcium. Calcium and magnesium is important for bone health, as these help to convert vitamin D into its active form in the body, and thus strengthen your bones.
2. Digestive Health
Leeks are actually a natural source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are the good type of bacteria that thrive in the digestive tract. They contribute to a healthy digestive system and are play an important role in the absorption of nutrients.
Eating leeks can help keep the stomach’s bacterial environment in balance, help to eliminate toxins and stimulate digestive fluids. All of these factors contribute to a healthy digestive system and can help improve overall health.
3. Good Source of Antioxidants and Vitamins
Leeks contain vitamins A, vitamin K, along with healthy amounts of niacin, folic acid, magnesium, riboflavin and thiamin. Adequate intake of leeks during pregnancy may help in preventing neural tube defects in newborns.
While the B vitamins present in leeks, may support heart health by keeping levels of homocysteine in balance. Elevated levels of homocysteine are linked with blood clots, heart disease and stroke.
Also, leeks provide concentrated source of antioxidants, even when being compared to other antioxidant-rich foods. Leeks contains a total polyphenol content or TPC of 33 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh edible portion. In comparison, carrots’ TPC is 10 milligrams and red bell peppers’ TPC is 27 milligrams.
4. Heart Health
Various studies have reported that vegetables belonging to the allium family can have a good impact on blood pressure. Reducing blood pressure is very essential to take the strain of the cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis and heart attack.
Also, leeks may help protect your heart from future complications and can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
5. Prevents Anemia
Leeks are rich in iron, which can help in preventing various types of anemia, in particular iron-deficiency anemia. Also, it is loaded in Vitamin C, that can help in better absorption of iron in your body.
6. Prevent Infections
Leeks also act as an antiseptic agent, thus helping your body fight against infection. You may apply leek extract on your wound to prevent infection.
7. Reduces Heart Disease Risk
Studies have shown that members of the allium family contains a blood pressure lowering effect and may help in the prevention platelets from clotting, that could potentially lead to a heart attack. Also, leeks can help remove homocysteine, a molecule that is very detrimental to cardiovascular health.