Also known as leek, leek is a vegetable widely used in savory recipes such as sauces, soups and salads.
Despite belonging to the same family as garlic and receiving the same name, it has unique characteristics in its flavor, which makes it so appreciated by cooking.
In addition to increasing gastronomic dishes, it also brings several health benefits.
Learn more about the use of the plant and how to consume it.
- 1 What is leek for?
- 2 What are the nutrients in leeks?
- 3 How is leek used?
- 4 What is the difference between garlic and leeks?
- 5 How to wash the leeks?
- 6 Harm: can it hurt?
What is leek for?
Although little known, leeks have several benefits for those who consume it, working in areas of the body such as heart and vision. It is rich in antioxidants and has a high fiber content, which also provides skin health and proper bowel function.
Check out the main actions of the plant in the human organism:
For the digestive system
Because it is rich in fiber – non-digestible carbohydrates -, leeks act in the proper functioning of the digestive system, strengthening the stomach, kidneys and intestines.
In addition, it has prebiotics – fibers that stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the body – aiding in the good performance of bowel movements.
For the skin
The antioxidant properties present in leeks, such as vitamins , help to keep the skin looking healthy, fighting premature aging.
In addition, the presence of beta-carotene – a natural pigment – stimulates the production of collagen, responsible for the youthful appearance of the dermis, and protects against solar radiation.
To the heart
Some antioxidant substances present in the composition of leeks can help in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.
The consumption of the vegetable helps to reduce the chances of atherosclerosis – accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries – a problem that can cause infarction .
It also acts to control blood pressure, acting as a vasodilator – it dilates blood vessels.
In addition, leeks assist in reducing a substance called homocysteine - an amino acid present in the blood – responsible for the onset of heart disease.
The vitamin C in leeks promotes the strengthening of the immune system, as it stimulates the production of white blood cells.
Thus, the consumption of the plant helps to protect the body, reducing cases of colds and flu, in addition to other infections.
To lose weight
Inulin, a property found in vegetables, is a fiber – a type of carbohydrate – that helps in the regulation of hormones related to food.
This substance promotes a decrease in the appetite hormone and an increase in the feeling of satiety, causing people to eat less, which can lead to weight reduction.
Despite this, it is worth mentioning that the isolated consumption of leeks will not bring significant results in weight loss, being necessary to combine it with a balanced diet and the practice of physical exercises.
For the vision
Leeks have two substances called lutein and zeaxanthin in their composition. These substances are antioxidant pigments that aid in vision health.
When consumed, they act to protect against diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration, protecting the eye tissue.
Thus, leeks are a good ally for elderly people, as they act to combat problems related to aging, such as loss of vision.
What are the nutrients in leeks?
Leeks have nutrients in their composition that help in the health of the organism. Among them are minerals and vitamins.
Minerals are inorganic substances responsible for the proper functioning of the body’s metabolism. The main ones in the vegetable and its actions are:
- Calcium – strengthening of bones and teeth;
- Magnesium – acts on muscle contraction;
- Potassium – fights high blood pressure;
- Iron – participates in cellular respiration;
- Phosphorus – strengthening of bones and teeth.
Vitamins, on the other hand, are fundamental compounds to promote the quality of physical and mental health and act in all areas of the body. Leeks have two main vitamins: B and C.
The B- complex vitamins act in the maintenance of blood and nerve cells in the body and assist in increasing immunity.
Vitamin C acts on the healthy development of body tissues, preventing vision problems and combating premature aging.
Together, nutrients promote health and well-being.
How is leek used?
Leeks are generally used in savory dishes. He is responsible for adding characteristic flavor to gastronomic recipes such as soups and sauces. Generally, the white region of the vegetable is used, discarding the part of the green leaves. The garlic is cut into slices and added to the meal.
Here are two options where using food can make all the difference in taste:
It is not new that the consumption of rice has been transformed into more elaborate recipes, such as the famous Greek rice – which includes vegetables and dried fruits.
Thus, the rice associated with leeks can be another option for those who want to diversify the consumption of the grain.
To prepare, simply sauté the leeks and then add the grain. Cook both ingredients together normally until it is cooked.
The preparation of sauces with leeks is an alternative for those who want a different flavor to accompany meat and pasta, in a simple way.
To prepare, it is necessary, first, to sauté it until it obtains a soft consistency. Then add sour cream, salt to taste and a little cheese. Mix until firm and the sauce is ready to be used.
What is the difference between garlic and leeks?
Despite the same name, garlic and leeks are very different foods and have different characteristics, in addition to their shape and size.
Those most popular garlic, found in heads and teeth, are very traditional in Brazilian cuisine. Its raw flavor is quite pronounced, and many people don’t like it very much. But cooked or roasted the food is more sweet and smooth.
Leeks, on the other hand, are closer to onions, including flavor. Its taste is slightly sweet, smooth, but less acidic than a normal onion.
Calories are also a point of differentiation. While conventional raw garlic (100g) has approximately 113kcal, leek (100g) has approximately 31kcal.
Likewise, carbohydrates are more present in garlic, with 23.9g, while the flatbread has only 6.9g.
How to wash the leeks?
One of the ways to wash the leeks is: remove the outer leaves (usually harder) and make a vertical cut across the length of the vegetable, keeping only the base without cuts. Then wash in running water, removing possible impurities.
After that, just cut the food into slices and it is ready to be used.
Harm: can it hurt?
There is no evidence that ingesting the vegetable directly harms health.
Despite this, it is important to consume in moderation, as in some cases, food allergy may occur .
Although, in general, it is not as well known and used in daily life, leeks are an ingredient that can add flavor to daily cooking recipes.
Not only that, it can promote health benefits, helping to maintain the proper functioning of the body.
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