Leeks are vegetables that are quite similar in appearance to scallions. They are usually best during the fall season until the beginning of spring. Although they taste a bit like onions, leeks give dishes a sweeter and milder flavor. Here are some health benefits that you can achieve from consuming leeks and some easy ways to prepare them.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol, Raises Good Cholesterol
Leeks belong to the vegetable family of Allium along with onions and garlic. This is why leeks share many of the health benefits that onions and garlic also contain. Regular consumption of vegetables in the Allium family has been proven to raise the levels of HDL cholesterol in the body. HDL levels are a type of "good"cholesterol. At the same time, eating leeks can also lower the level of "bad" cholesterol in the body - also known as LDL levels. These benefits are important in the prevention of blood vessel plaques. Blood vessel plaques can result to diabetic heart disease and atherosclerosis. When blood vessel plaques continue to grown in size, they can also lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Research has also proven that adding leeks and other Allium vegetables to your diet reduces your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Colon cancer is one of them. Leeks contain several compounds that are able to protect colon cells from cancerous toxins. These compounds are also able to inhibit the growth of any cancer cells that are already developing. Leeks are also rich in kaempferol, a compound that can reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Leek Preparation Tips and Recipes
If you are looking to incorporate leeks into your regular diet then there are some simple tips that you can follow so you can start eating leeks. No matter how you want to prepare your leeks, you need to wash them thoroughly beforehand. If you are making a fresh salad, you can chop up raw leeks and add the pieces to the salad. You can also use leeks to make cold soup. Simply puree cooked leeks and mix them with potatoes. This soup is called vichyssoise.
There are also many recipes that you can try to enjoy leeks in your diet. One of these recipes is the French Leek Pie. Start by preheating your oven to about 375 degrees 7. In a large saucepan, melt some butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped leeks and cook them for about ten minutes or until they are tender. Be sure to stir them occasionally to keep the pieces from sticking to the pan. Add some pepper and salt to taste. Switch to low heat and mix in some shredded cheese and light cream. Pour the whole mixture into a ready-made pie crust or pie shell. Bake the pie for about half an hour or until the top surface is golden brown. Allow the pie to cool for about ten minutes before serving. The French Leek Pie makes a great snack. You can also pair it with some salad for a complete meal.