The scientific name of leeks is Allium porrum which is related to shallots, onions, garlic, and scallions.
The health benefits of leeks are
Leeks may be great for your eyes.
Leeks contain vitamin A which protects the retina, prevents eye diseases and improves eyesight.
Leeks can help fight anemia.
Leeks contain iron which increases hemoglobin in the body and reduces the risk of anemia.
Leeks are a great source of prebiotics.
Leeks contain about 16% prebiotic inulin in it which provides many health benefits like increase mineral absorption and reduce the risk of colorectal disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Leeks may help pregnant women and newborn babies.
Leeks have an honest quantity of B-complex vitamins. B-complex vitamin consumption throughout maternity is vital to preventing noninheritable disabilities like ectoblast defects.
Leeks may contain anti-cancer compounds.
Leeks contain flavonoids and have anti-cancer compounds which fight oxidative stress and reduces the risk of cancer.
Leeks could help strengthen your bones.
Leeks reduce the risk of osteoporosis and strengthen the bones as it contains calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and other microelements in their bioavailable form.
Antioxidant Potential of Leeks
Leeks contain lots of antioxidants and vitamin C which prevents oxidative stress fights free radicals, diseases, infections and boosts the immune system of the body.
Helps in Improving Lipid Profile
Leeks contain hypolipidemic effect, d-limonene which reduces the risk of cardiovascular health, lowers the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver. It also contains ferulic acid which lowers high cholesterol levels and increases the excretion of triglycerides in feces.
Anti-Hypertensive Effect of Leeks
Leeks contain kaempferol which increases the production of nitric acid, relaxes blood vessels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Anti-Ulcer Property of Leeks
Gastric ulcer square measure sores that develop on the inner lining of the abdomen or bowel.
Studies have found that healthy compounds gift in leeks shields the inner lining of the abdomen and inhibits the formation of viscus ulcers.
Anti-inflammatory medicines square measure utilized in the treatment of ulcers. Leeks inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds and so lowers overall inflammation. Therefore, leeks work as anti-ulcer medication and thus, they assist within the healing of viscus ulcers.
Furthermore, analysis disclosed that regular consumption of leeks, not solely reduced the scale of viscus ulcers however they additionally helped in protective the inner lining of the abdomen.
Regular Consumption of Leeks Helps Heal viscus Ulcers
Anti-Diabetic Potential of Leeks:
Research has ascertained that leeks have a good potential to lower high blood sugar levels.
Leeks improve hypoglycemic agent sensitivity and so, they enhance uptake of aldohexose by the muscles. Hence, aldohexose is employed as a supply of energy instead of being a gift within the blood. Such a hypoglycemic property of leeks is attributed to the presence of sulfur compounds and flavonoids in them.
Furthermore, antioxidants gift in leeks defend the beta-cells, as well as, the exocrine gland against the attack of free radicals. They conjointly scale back aerophilous stress and delay the onset of diabetic complications.
Liver-Protective Role of Leeks:
The liver may be a frequent target of a variety of poisons. intake foods like leeks facilitate in detoxification of the liver and improve overall liver perform.
Sulfur compounds gift in leek bind the toxins and eliminate them from the body. moreover, intake leaks throughout a liver infection reduce liver injury and improve its perform.
It additionally helps in normalizing the number of liver enzymes that are otherwise high throughout a liver infection or injury.
Thus, intake leeks will facilitate the regeneration of liver cells and improve overall liver health.
Consuming Leeks Improve Overall Liver Health
Loaded with Dietary Fiber:
Leeks square measure an incredible supply of atomic number 20, vitamin B complex (vitamin B9) and dietary fiber. Its high fiber content improves overall digestion.
It promotes the expansion of healthy bacteria within the gut and so, it helps to keep the gut healthy.
Production of healthy bacteria within the gut improves the health of different organs, particularly the liver and kidneys.
Cardiovascular Support Provided by Leeks
Leeks protect the blood vessels from getting damaged and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it contains folate and flavonoid kaempferol in it.
Leeks can be eaten at any time of day. Leeks partner well with chicken, ham, cheese, cream, garlic, and shallots. Complementary herbs and spices include chervil, parsley, sage, thyme, basil, lemon, and mustard.
How to buy and Store leeks
Buy leeks that are straight and firm with dark green leaves and white necks. Do not buy leeks which are wilted, yellow in color, have cracks or bruises and have large bulbs.
Leeks can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator, wrapped up in a paper or plastic bag,
Ways to use leeks
Leeks can be used in a variety of ways
- Healthy sauté leeks and fennel. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.
- Add finely chopped leeks to salads.
- Make vichyssoise, a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.
- Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring.
- Braised leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.
- Add sliced leeks to your favorite omelet or frittata recipe.
Although less well-researched than their fellow Allium vegetables (especially garlic and onions), leeks, however, contain several sulfur compounds that area unit either almost like, or identical with, sulfur compounds in these better-researched vegetables. They conjointly contain a formidable quantity of polyphenols, together with the flavonoid kaempferol. In and of itself, the substantial quantity of sulfur found in leeks might play a vital role in support of our body’s inhibitor and ward systems also because of the formation of our animal tissue. Leeks area unit a wonderful supply of vitamin K. they’re a superb supply of metallic elements, vitamin B6, copper, iron, pteroylmonoglutamic acid and antioxidant. Leeks also are a decent supply of vitamin A (in the shape of carotenoids, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, atomic number 20 and omega-3 fatty acids. The pteroylmonoglutamic acid found in leeks is partially gifted within the bioactive style of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).
Uses of leeks
The healthful uses of those plants are kind of like those of their shut relative garlic. once the leaves are broken, they secrete a sort of gel that has bound healthful uses. The gel is applied to cuts, burns and skin rashes for fast their healing method. A poultice made up of the Leek leaves is helpful for treating cysts. The affected space must be coated with the poultice before ligature the wound with a bandage then go away it on for many days.
Season in which leeks is available
Leeks are available from March to September
How to make Potato Leek Sabzi with fennel and mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons safflower or organic canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoons) red chili flakes or chopped green chili to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoons) mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 teaspoons) fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) turmeric
- 2/3 teaspoon (0.67 teaspoons) salt or to taste
- 2 medium potatoes chopped I used red potatoes
- 1/2 cup (44.5 g) chopped Leek washed well
- In a medium deep pan, add oil and heat on medium.
- Add in the mustard seeds and let them start to sputter.
- Add in the fennel and mix for a few seconds.
- Add in the leek and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add turmeric and salt. Mix.
- Add in the potatoes and mix well to coat spices.
- Cook covered for 15-20 minutes on low heat until potatoes are well done. Stir 1-2 times in between.
- Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro or chopped green onion. Serve as part of the meal with any lentil soup(Daal), or beans curry, Indian flat bread(Roti) and salad or any Indian pickle. or as a side with any meal or as is.
How to make Leeks Sambar
- Leeks – 2 cups
- Sambar podi – 1 tbsp heaped approximately 1.25 tbsps
- Toor dhal – 1/4 cup
- Turmeric powder – 1 Tsp
- Coconut – 2 tbsps
- Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp leveled or 1 small gooseberry size
- Water – as needed
- Salt – 2 Tsp
- Rice flour – 2 Tsp
- Chopped Cilantro – for garnishing
- Oil – 2 Tsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
- Methi Seeds – 1 tsp
- Hing – ¼ Tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 strand
- If you are using tamarind, soak the tamarind in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes and extract 1 cup of juice. If you are using paste, mix 1 tbsp of tamarind paste in 1 cup of water and set aside.
- Pressure cook ¼ cup of toor dal with 2 cups of water and once it is cooled down mash it well and set aside.
- Mix the sambar podi in 1 cup of water and set aside. Mixing with water and adding ensures that there are no lumps.
- Clean and chop the leeks as mentioned above.
- Heat the pan or kadai and add oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and methi seeds and hing.
- As they start to splutter add the curry leaves and chopped leeks.
- Sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Now add the 2 tbsps of grated coconut and mix well. Sauté for a minute and then add the tamarind water/extract.
- Add salt and mix well. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the sambar powder mixed water and mix well. Let it simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the mashed toor dal mix and add 1 cup of water depending upon the consistency.
- Bring it to a boil and check for salt at this stage. If you need thick consistency, mix 2 tsp of rice flour in 2 tbsps of water and add it to the sambar and bring it to boil. If you need thin consistency to add more water and bring it to a boil.
- As it starts to boil, turn off the heat. Garnish it with cilantro and serve hot with rice or any tiffin items.
- Grated coconut is completely optional. But it adds a nice flavor and texture. You can add veggies to your choice.
- A small piece of jaggery can be added. As I didn’t add too much spice, I skipped the jaggery this time.
- Also while tempering you can add a couple of red chilies.
Leeks typically have positive effects on health, and there’s no proof of any untoward side-effects. However, it’s counseled for pregnant girls and babies to consult their doctors/dieticians before creating leeks a region of their diet. It doesn’t typically cause any aspect effects once consumed in moderate amounts in foods. However, overconsumption might cause bound health conditions in some people.
Fun facts about leeks
- Leeks are usually cultivated in autumn or summer season and need to be planted carefully. Once planted, they grow with vigor, along with other plants in the crop field.
- Leeks do not produce a bulb-shaped edible part as onion plants; they rather form a cylindrical bunch of leaf sheaths.
- Leeks are generally tolerant of a variety of soil types and climatic conditions.
- They are not as dense as onions and garlic, and as such, much easier to digest.
- Leeks have a delicate, slightly sweet flavor, making your food and salads savory.
- Apart from culinary uses, leeks are also used to cure a variety of ailments.
- According to Greek philosopher Aristotle, the partridge gets its clear voice from its diet consisting mainly of Leeks.
- Legends say that Nero, the Roman emperor, consumed the vegetable every day to get a stronger voice.
- It serves as the national emblem of Wales.
- The Welsh soldiers kept Leeks in their helmets to distinguish themselves from their enemies during their battle against the Saxons in 1620.
- Leeks are root vegetables that look quite similar to onions, to which they are related.
- The plant is characterized by broad, flat, tightly wrapped, dark green leaves, a long, thick white stalk, and a slightly bulbous root.
- It has a mild, sweet, onion-like flavor.
- Leeks enjoy a long and rich history, one that can trace its heritage back through antiquity.
- Thought to be native to Central Asia, they have been cultivated in this region and in Europe for thousands of years.
- Leeks were prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans and were especially revered for their beneficial effect upon the throat.
- The Greek philosopher Aristotle credited the clear voice of the partridge to a diet of leeks, while the Roman emperor Nero supposedly ate leeks every day to make his voice stronger.
- The Hebrew Bible talks of חציר, identified by commentators as leek and says it is abundant in Egypt.
- Dried specimens from archaeological sites in ancient Egypt, as well as wall carvings and drawings, indicate that the leek was a part of the Egyptian diet from at least the second millennium BC.
- Texts also show that it was grown in Mesopotamia from the beginning of the second millennium BC.
- The leek was the favorite vegetable of Emperor Nero, who consumed it in soup or in oil, believing it beneficial to the quality of his voice.
- According to one legend, King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.
- The Elizabethan poet Michael Drayton stated, in contrast, that the tradition was a tribute to Saint David, who ate only leaks when he was fasting.
- The name ‘leek’ developed from the Old English word leac.
- Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the field for an extended harvest, which takes place up to 6 months from planting.
- In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves.
- Leek stalks are widely used in European soups and stews, especially as a complement to potatoes, and can be cooked whole as a vegetable.
- Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate, and vitamin C. Leeks are also a good source of vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
- The health benefits of leeks include eye health, preventing cataracts, keeping skin clean and healthy, supporting cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, preventing anemia, and relieving inflammation. Other benefits include improving bone health, supporting kidney function, managing type 2 diabetes, preventing cancer, aiding weight loss and improving digestion.
- Raw leeks can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.
- The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales, worn along with the daffodils (in Welsh, the daffodil is known as “Peter’s leeks” Cenhinen Bedr) on St. David’s Day.
- The vegetable became the national emblem of Wales following an ancient victory by an army of Welshmen who wore leeks as a distinguishing sign.