Leek or also known as ‘ramps’ or ‘wild ramps’, is part of the vegetable genus Allium, part of the Amaryllidacea family.
Leeks are native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia though throughout the years it gained popularity and is now widely cultivated.
Leeks produce a long cylinder of leaf sheaths that are blanched by spreading soil around them.
Leeks look like a giant green onion but have a much milder, somewhat sweet flavor and a creamier texture when cooked. Leeks belong to the same family as onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and garlic.
Leeks are a good source of dietary fiber, rich in vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and thiamine, a very good source of folate as well as minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
Wild ramps are also low in sodium and has almost no saturated fat or cholesterol.
The leeks also contain many flavonoid antioxidants (including diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, allyl propyl disulfide).
Leeks are rich in antioxidants and sulfur compounds, especially kaempferol and allicin. These are thought to protect your body from disease as well as keeping your body healthy.
SINCE LEEKS OR WILD RAMPS NUTRIENT-PACKED BENEFICIAL PLANT, LET’S PUT IN DETAILS THE HEALTH BENEFITS IT CARRIES:
IMPROVE HEART HEALTH
The flavonoids in leeks are also associated with a diminished risk for cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids in leeks have a positive impact on blood pressure, vascular function and serum lipid levels (meaning blood cholesterol). Leeks also contain a high concentration of the B vitamin folate – that plays a critical role in heart health. Other traits of leeks are their concentration of antioxidant polyphenols.
PROTECT AGAINST CANCER
Leeks features their ability to protect against different kinds of cancer, and more than one element in the vegetable is responsible for the ability to work as a preventative natural cancer treatment. Other factors of leeks are the cancer-fighting ability which is diallyl trisulfide – a bioactive compound found in Allium vegetables.
(See also: Top 5 Anti-Cancer Vegetables)
IMPROVE GUT HEALTH
The nutritional powerhouse and the prebiotics found in leeks don’t just lower your risk of obesity, but their bacteria-managing ways allow you to properly absorb nutrients in the food you eat. High-fiber foods such as leeks are a great defense against inflammation of cells in the body.
The sulfur-containing compounds in leeks may also naturally reduce bad cholesterol levels, which is especially important if you’re at risk for heart disease. Also, the phytonutrients in leeks, sulfides and thiols, also regulate cholesterol by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels.
(See also: Signs of Too Much Cholesterol )
Leeks are low in calories thus bulking up a meal by helping you feel full without majorly impacting your daily caloric intake. Inulin – a prebiotics found in leeks helps lower overall risk for obesity and weight gain by maintaining balance and diversity of intestinal bacteria.
PROMOTE HEALTHY PREGNANCY
A good amount of folate is present in leeks, which has long been known to be part of a healthy pregnancy. Folate in leeks helps prevent miscarriage, as well as neural tube defects like diseases and disorders that occur when the spine and back do not properly close during fetal development.
(See also: 3 Healthiest Foods For Baby)
IMPROVES BONE HEALTH
Leeks help you keep your bones healthy by regulating blood flow, activating the protein osteocalcin and providing a good amount of calcium and magnesium.
(See also: 6 Major Foods To Avoid If You Have Arthritis)
Leeks are excellent source of iron and vitamin C which helps your body to absorb the iron you consume as well as it helps in treating anemic symptoms.
(See also: Good Diet For People with Anemia)
Leeks as a source of lutein and zeaxanthin help protect your eye tissue from oxidative damage that can cause cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Leeks also helps your retinas see better in low light due to the presence of vitamin A.
The health benefits of leeks continue, among those are:
IT HELPS PROMOTE BRAIN FUNCTION, IMPROVE MOOD AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION, INCLUDING CONCENTRATION AND MEMORY RETENTION.
(See also: 11 Foods to Eat to Increase Your Brain Capacity)
IT HELPS LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS.
(See also: Top 9 Worst Food For A Diabetic)
IT HELPS FIGHT AGAINST INFECTIONS.
(See also: 7 Common Causes of Urinary Tract infections)
IT HELPS REDUCE INFLAMMATION.
The list of what leeks can do is a long one. From preventing inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases, to protecting the body from cancer and everything in between, there are plenty of reasons to make leeks a regular part of your diet.
Leeks make a delicious, nutritious, and versatile addition to any diet. Leeks can be frozen, pickled, canned or dehydrated. Also, leeks’ mild flavor works well in vegetable-based dishes. You can even also eat them raw.
Make your own homemade leek and potato soup for a hearty meal to warm you up in cool weather. Clueless? Then try this recipe tips at hand.
SOME TIPS FOR USING AND STORING LEEKS
- Leeks should have firm, crisp stalks with as much white and light green regions as possible. Do not eat leeks with yellow or withered tops.
- To wash leeks, cut them in half lengthwise, keeping the root intact. Run water over the whole leek, rifling through the layers to give them a good rinse. If needed, do this a few times to make sure all of the fine sand is removed.
- Store fresh leeks unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for 1 to 2 weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help retain moisture.
Even though leeks are considered to be anti-allergenic, they’re part of a small group of foods containing oxalates, which are naturally occurring ions found in plants, animals and humans.
If you have untreated gallbladder or kidney issues, consult with your doctor about consuming high quantities of leeks.
(Read next: 15 Surprising Health Benefits of Eggplants)
Please be advised that all of the information on this website is based on research and is provided for informational purposes only. Visitor who either use this Site and rely on any information do so at their own risk.
- Alexander, Karen. 2017. “Nutritional Properties of Leeks”. 3 October
- Edwards, Rebekah. 2015. Dr. Axe. “How Leaks Can Protect You From Both Cancer & Heart Disease”. 29 December
- Petre, Alina. MS, RD, (CA). 2019. Health Line. “10 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Leeks and Wild Ramps”. 21 June
- Saba. 2019. Style Craze. “17 Best Benefits Of Leeks For Skin, Hair And Health”. 17 May
- Tremblay, Sylvie. Live Strong. “What Are the Health Benefits of Leeks?”.