Leeks | Superfood of the Month
Leeks Description & Health Benefits
- Leeks are part of the Amaryllidaceae botanical family which also includes onions, garlic, shallots and chives.
- Concerned about gut health? Raw leeks, along with raw garlic and onions, are a source of prebiotics. Prebiotics, a type of fiber, are good for our beneficial gut bacteria. They assist in balancing the bacteria which aids in a healthy digestive system.
- Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of vitamin A and manganese.
- Vitamin K is essential for bone building and blood clotting.
- Vitamin A is vital for vision, reproduction and immune system function and plays a significant role in normal functioning of the heart, lungs and kidneys.
- Manganese is required for normal brain and nerve function. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate absorption, blood sugar regulation and helps the body form connective tissue, bones and blood clotting factors.
- Purchase leeks year round at the grocery store or seasonally at the farmer’s market.
- Choose those with more of the white and light green parts, as most of the dark green parts will be removed unless using for soup stock. Look for leeks that are fresh, firm and brightly colored.
- Avoid leeks that are discolored, yellow, bruised, cracked or slimy. If available, choose small to medium sized leeks which will be tender and less woody.
- Store unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Prepare leeks by trimming off the roots and dark green leaves. Rinse leeks well to remove excess dirt. Either cut lengthwise and rinse under cold water or dice and soak in cold water to remove dirt.
- Leave leeks whole, dice or chopped depending on recipe instructions. Sauté, roast, grill or braise. Add to soups, casseroles, quiches or salads. Substitute leeks in any recipe that calls for onions.
1/2 leek, bulb and lower leaf portion, raw
Calories: 27| Protein: 0.67 g | Fat: 0.13 g | Carbohydrate: 6.3 g | Fiber: 0.8 g | Calcium: 26 mg | Magnesium: 12 mg | Potassium: 80 mg | Folate: 8 mcg | Vitamin A: 742.0 IU | Vitamin K: 20.9 IU