Health Benefits of Leeks
Like other members of the onion family, leeks have a positive effect on health and well-being. In ancient Greece and Rome, they were thought to be good for the throat. As the use of leeks spread to Britain via the Romans, many more claims were made for the leek including, that it was "high in fibre, good for purging the blood, keeping colds at bay and healing wounds."1
An average size leek contains just 38.4 calories, with a makeup of 33.9 of these from carbohydrates, 2.1 from fat, and 2.5 from protein. It also contains 305 mg of salt which is 13% of daily requirements. The leek also contains significant levels of manganese (15%) and iron (8%).2
Modern researchers have found leeks, as well as most of the plants in the onion family, to be highly beneficial, when consumed in moderation (two to seven times per week). It has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels in the body. Leeks will also help keep down high blood pressure.
Leeks are believed to fight cancer, especially colon and prostate cancer. They contain quercetin and other compounds which inhibit carcinogenic development and also restrict the spread of cancer. Leeks also contain kaempferol a substance which has been shown to reduce ovarian cancer in women.
The green parts of leeks are especially nutritious, containing B vitamins and loaded with protective antioxidants such as the carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin3. Of course, antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the cells that attack the DNA within the cells causing aging and other problems.
Leeks, like many other vegetables, are very beneficial to the human body. Using leeks in soups, stews and other dishes can be a good way to make certain that a diet is healthy and wholesome.