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Nutritional value of Leek

Nutritional value of Leek

The leek (Allium ampeloprasum L.) is a biennial herbaceous plant of the Liliaceae family, of which the edible part is represented by the basal part of the leaves (the white part), while the green apical part of the same is commonly discarded.
The leek is the national symbol of Wales.
This vegetable was already appreciated in Greek and Roman times. The emperor Nero was so fond of it that he was nicknamed “the porrophagus”.

Characteristics –
The essential characteristics of the leek plant is that of the leaves which are opposite, dark green or yellowish green; these are carried grouped to form a sort of pseudo-stem.
The flowers of the leek are greenish white, formed by three pieces that form an umbrella inflorescence at the end of a floral stalk; this develops in the second year of life of the plant.
Leek is a vegetable and as such is grown in many areas of the world

Nutritional card –
Leek is a vegetable from the same family as onion, garlic and shallots.
Thanks to their properties and phytochemical characteristics, leeks bring many health benefits. Furthermore, leek is a source of allicin and antioxidants (in particular beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin).
For every 100 g of raw leek, about 61 calories are provided. Furthermore, the average composition of a leek is as follows, bearing in mind that these percentages and quantities are also linked to the particular climate and substrate in which it is grown; on average we will have:
– 83 g of water;
– 1.50 g of protein;
– 0.30 g of lipids, including: 0.040 g of saturated fatty acids, 0.004 g of monounsaturated fatty acids and 0.166 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids;
– 1,667 IU of vitamin A;
– 12.0 mg of vitamin C;
– 0.92 mg of vitamin E;
– 0.400 mg of niacin;
– 0.233 mg of vitamin B6;
– 0.060 mg of thiamine;
– 0.030 mg of riboflavin;
– 64 µg of folate;
– 47 µg of vitamin K;
– 180 mg of potassium;
– 59 mg of calcium;
– 35 mg of phosphorus;
– 28 mg of magnesium;
– 20 mg of sodium;
– 2.10 mg of iron;
– 0.481 mg of manganese;
– 0.12 mg of zinc;
– 1 µg of selenium.

Property –
As for its use in the kitchen, there is no shortage of first courses with leeks, such as pasta with leeks. This vegetable can also be used to make soups, omelettes or chickpea porridge or to make a sauté instead of the classic onion.
The introduction of leek into a balanced diet brings significant benefits; these derive from the contribution of minerals, vitamins, fibers and active ingredients. In particular, calcium and phosphorus help ensure good health of bones and teeth, potassium is an ally of the heart and arteries and selenium helps fight oxidative stress. Other antioxidants are vitamin C (also important for the production of collagen which forms a supportive scaffolding in connective tissues and an ally of the immune system), vitamin A and carotenoids and vitamin E. Group B vitamins, on the other hand, promote a good metabolism; among them, folates are particularly important for the development of the nervous system during pregnancy. Finally, vitamin K promotes good blood clotting.
Leek, although to a lesser extent than garlic, provides molecules with antioxidant properties which, once converted into allicin, help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and the formation of platelet clots.
In general, the benefits of a diet in which leeks are introduced are:
– Contrast to inflammatory and oxidative processes;
– Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes 2 and cancer.
– Promotes gastrointestinal well-being, for example, counteracts constipation;
– Improves cognitive functions;
– Improve blood sugar levels.
As far as contraindications are concerned, there are no interactions between the consumption of leeks and the intake of drugs or other substances. However, if in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.

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