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Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Delicate flavored leeks are cylindrical, leafy stalks obtained from the onion-like plant in the Allium family. They are biennial, tall, slender plants with long cylindrical stem composed of overlapping leaves. They are commonly used as vegetables in many parts of Europe, America and Asia.

Botanically, they belong to the Alliaceae family of bulbous plants, of the genus Allium. However, unlike their fellow allium members such as onion, shallots, garlic…etc, they do not form bulbs.

Health benefits of Leeks
  • Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
  • Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
  • Though leeks contain proportionately less thio-sulfinites than that in garlic, they still possess significant amounts of these anti-oxidants such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide and allyl propyl disulfide. These compounds convert to allicin by enzymatic reaction when the stalk disturbed (crushing, cutting etc).
  • Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
  • Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels which, helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
  • Leeks are great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
  • In addition, leeks are one of the good source of vitamin A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Raw leeks, bulb & lower leaves (from
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy255 kJ (61 kcal)
Carbohydrates14.15 g
Sugars3.9 g
Dietary fiber1.8 g
Fat0.3 g
Protein1.5 g
Water83 g
Vitamin A equiv.83 μg (10%)
beta-carotene1000 μg (9%)
lutein and zeaxanthin1900 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.06 mg (5%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.03 mg (3%)
Niacin (vit. B3)0.4 mg (3%)
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.14 mg (3%)
Vitamin B60.233 mg (18%)
Folate (vit. B9)64 μg (16%)
Vitamin C12 mg (14%)
Vitamin E0.92 mg (6%)
Vitamin K47 μg (45%)
Calcium59 mg (6%)
Iron2.1 mg (16%)
Magnesium28 mg (8%)
Manganese0.481 mg (23%)
Phosphorus35 mg (5%)
Potassium180 mg (4%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

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