Leek is a plant that belongs to the same family as garlic and onion. It has a sharp flavor and taste sweeter than onions. Leek is popularly used in a variety of dishes including pottages, sauces omelets, soups and salads. You can also prepare a delicious and nutritious juice from its leaves, stalk and bulb.
Normally, people just use the white bulb and the light green stalk of leek for culinary purposes. The darker colored green leaf sheaths are often discarded because of their fibrous consistency. However, it is also the part that has the most vitamins and minerals. So if you like to take advantage of the many health benefits of leek, it would be wise to use the dark green leaf sheaths also.
Health Benefits of Leek
Leek is rich in dietary fiber and minerals such as nickel, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. It also contains vitamins A, B complex, C, K, and folic acid as well as antiseptic, anti-arthritic, laxative and diuretic properties. Leek makes an excellent dietary food in that it is low in calories while it is packed with vitamins, minerals and other properties. These are what make leeks very useful not only for culinary purposes but also for home remedy of various diseases and health conditions.
- Anemia – Because leeks are rich in iron, regularly including leek in your diet can help in fighting various types of anemia especially those that are caused by iron deficiency.
- Arthritis and Gout – Leek contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help alleviate arthritis and gout.
- Birth defects – Chances of birth defects can be reduced if pregnant women have regular intake of leek which contains a significant amount of folate.
- Colon, Prostate and ovarian cancer – Studies show that regular intake of leek either as juice or part of dishes can help decrease the risk of suffering from colon, prostate and ovarian cancer.
- Detoxification – One of the benefits of regularly drinking leek juice is in detoxification. Leek juice has a purifying effect that can help eliminate toxins in the body.
- Digestive problems – Leek is rich in dietary fiber which makes it useful in digestion. It can also help soothe constipation as well as reduce intestinal bloating.
- Fever, flu and cold – during cold season, including leek in your daily diet as well as drinking leek juice can help you avoid flu, cold and fever. Or if you are already suffering from any of these conditions, it can help relieve the symptoms.
- High blood pressure – The high potassium content of leeks makes it very useful in regulating blood pressure. Drinking leek juice everyday can greatly help people with high blood pressure.
- High cholesterol – Leek contains anti-cholesterol properties which help in reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine.
- Infections – Because of the antiseptic properties of leek, it helps the body fight against infections.
- Promotes healthy nervous system – The folic acid, magnesium ad phosphorous in leeks are essential for a healthy nervous system. People with problems in memory and concentration can greatly benefit from regularly including leeks in the diet as well as drinking leek juice.
- Urinary tract infection – If you are suffering from urinary tract infection, drinking leek juice can help improve your condition.
Leek is generally beneficial to most people except for those who are suffering from oxalate kidney stones and individuals who are allergic to nickel because of the small traces of oxalate and nickel in leeks. But despite these drawbacks, a lot of people can still benefit from leeks because of their many natural components which are beneficial to our health.