What is Leek?
Like garlic and onion, the leek is a vegetable, a cultivar of Allium ampeloprasum family but have their own distinct flavour – quite harsh when raw (only very young leeks are eaten this way) but, when cooked, very delicate, like a mild onion but with a hint of sweetness. The edible part of the plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk.
Two thirds of their length is white and firm, and this is the part that is mainly eaten. The rest of the third is made up of the leaves (flags), most of which is discarded.
8 Amazing Leek Benefits
Fight infections: Leeks also act as an antiseptic agent, which help the body fight against infection. You may apply leek extract on a wound to prevent the infection.
Improve digestive health: Leek is one of the few foods that contain prebiotics, a type of good bacteria, which is necessary for a better nutrient absorption. It eliminates noxious waste matter in the body, stimulates peristaltic action and secretes digestive fluids, thereby improving digestive function.
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels: A regular intake of leeks has been associated with the decrease in bad (LDL) cholesterol and raise in the level of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Anti-cancer properties: Leeks are a good source of allyl sulfides which have been shown to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, particularly stomach, prostate, and colon cancer.
Protect against heart disease: Several studies have shown that members of the Allium family, including Leeks, have a slight blood pressure lowering effect and may help prevent heart diseases like arteriosclerosis, stroke and cardiac failure.
3 Reason Why Leeks Are Good To Eat
Leeks contain minerals such as iron (which is important for red blood cells) and manganese (involved in the regulation of brain and nerve function).
Leeks are a good source of vitamins A, C and K (important for helping your blood to clot).
Leeks are also a good source of dietary fibre.
Uses of Leek
Leeks are very versatile and work well cooked in various recipes or as a side dish. Leeks are good for two of the world’s most famous soups, Scotland’s cock-a-leekie and France’s crème vichyssoise.
Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
Heat 3 tablespoons of broth in 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet until it begins to steam. Add 1 pound of cut leeks. Cover and Healthy Sauté for 4 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of broth, reduce heat to medium low, and Healthy Sauté for 3 more minutes uncovered while stirring frequently. Toss with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional value of Leek
100 grams of leeks contain about 83g water, 1.5g protein, 14g carbohydrates and minimal fat. Leeks are a source of several vitamins and nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, magnesium and manganese.