Leeks are a type of vegetable closely related to shallots, garlic, and onion. Cultivated as a garnish, vegetable, and seasoning, leeks pack quite the nutritional punch. This vegetable helps detoxify the liver, improves digestion, and promotes better immunity. In today’s post, we are exploring the many health benefits of leeks:
Strengthens the Immune System
Leeks boasts of a long list of nutrients, including vitamin A, B, and K. It is also loaded with folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, and thiamin that promote immunity. The vitamin B in leeks supports heart health by regulating the homocysteine in the body.
Homocysteine is also high in polyphenols. These antioxidants protect healthy cells from free radical damage. Studies show that free radical damage is the precursor to chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. The polyphenols in leeks strengthen the immune system, keeping the body healthy and resistant to environmental stress. Thanks to its polyphenol and kaempferol content, leeks also combat low-level internal inflammation that leads to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis!
Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Apart from polyphenols, leeks are also rich in kaempferol. Kaempferol is a type of flavonoid that protects the blood vessels from damage caused by free radicals. By neutralizing free radical damage, flavonoid kaempferol reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming leeks also regulate the amount of homocysteine in the blood. An elevated level of homocysteine in the blood could lead to cardiovascular disorders.
Leeks are high in vitamin A. In fact, a single cup serving of leeks yields about 1,484 international units of vitamin A! A single serving of leeks satisfies about 64% of a woman’s RDA of vitamin A and 46% of men’s. Vitamin A helps keep the eyes healthy by reversing DNA and cell damage caused by oxidative stress. This nutrient also assists in healthy blood cell development. It helps generate red and white blood cells!
Apart from vitamin A, leeks are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients contribute to healthy eyesight by keeping the eye tissues healthy. Zeaxanthin and lutein work by filtering out the harmful rays of the sun that affect eyesight. Consuming lutein and zeaxanthin-rich foods also reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Better Bone Health
Leeks are packed with vitamin K. This nutrient “thins” out the blood, preventing blood clots that could lead to strokes! Vitamin K regulates blood flow, enhances circulation, and boosts cell repair. Even better, this nutrient support better bone health!
Vitamin K works by activating the osteocalcin in the body. Osteocalcin is a type of protein that’s essential for stronger, denser bones. Leeks contain about 42 micrograms of vitamin K per serving. It satisfies 47% of your RDA of vitamin A!
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Perhaps one of the most important health benefits of consuming leeks is it prevents cancer. Leeks contain a chemical called allyl sulfide. Studies show that allyl sulfides modify certain pathways in the body associated with tumor development. This shrinks malignant tumors, inhibiting cancer cells from spreading all over the body.