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Leeks

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Leeks Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 83 g
Calories: 61 kcal
Protein: 1.5 g
Carbohydrate: 14.2 g
Dietary fiber: 1.8 g
Sugars: 3.9 g
Fat: 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin C: 12 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 64 μg
Vitamin A: 83 μg
Vitamin E: 0.9 mg
Vitamin K: 47 μg
Calcium: 59 mg
Iron: 2.1 mg
Magnesium: 28 mg
Phosphorus: 35 mg
Potassium: 180 mg
Sodium: 20 mg
Zinc: 0.1 mg

The leek, a member of the allium family, is a vegetable with a mild, onion like taste. Delicious in soups, salads, or even just fried in butter, the leek is a traditional component of a number of classic dishes (leek and potato soup), in addition to being something of a health food.

With a strong nutritional profile, and an important source of the flavonoid kaempferol, leeks will lend a health advantage to almost any diet, and especially one low in green or allium vegetables.

Leeks are high in some rather unusual nutrients for a green vegetable, which is fantastic for those looking for nutritional variety. While leek is high in vitamin K, containing 45% of your daily value (DV) in 100g, according to the USDA database, it also has significant amounts of some essential vitamins and minerals many people’s diets lack. 100g contains 18% DV of vitamin B6, 16% DV of folate, 16% of iron, and 14% DV of vitamin C, all for just 61 calories.

These slightly harder to come by essential micronutrients perform a plethora of different functions in the body. B6 is important in a huge amount of processes, including forming haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. Folate may benefit your health by preventing an excess of homocysteine, which is related to higher risk of cardiovascular disease and depression.

Iron deficiency results in tiredness and paleness, and should be avoided, and vitamin C is essential for iron absorption, gum health and a host of other things. Unlike, say, vitamin K, it is not uncommon for those in the developed world to be deficient in these, so eating leek may have some real health benefit to a lot of people.

Leek really shines, however, in its high concentration of a flavonoid called kaempferol, also found in a number of other allium vegetables. This review sees kaempferol as having ‘antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer,cardioprotective, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, anti-osteoporotic, estrogenic/antiestrogenic, anxiolytic, analgesic and antiallergic’ effects, so clearly this is something that needs further research!

Proven benefits include protection from blood vessel damage, and a broad cancer-protective effect.

Furthermore, as an allium, leek has a strong association with a lower risk of cancer, specifically, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and oesophageal cancer.

All of these health benefits add up to a very convincing set of reasons to eat more leeks!