Leeks, onions and garlic make great additions to your diet. Not only do they lend foods a delicious flavor, but they also give your cooking a healthy kick. Read on to learn about the benefits of these spices and how you can incorporate them into your cooking.
Physically, leeks resemble scallions except for their larger size. These vegetables are made up of stalks, leaves and an onion-like bulb. Leeks are an extremely rich source of vitamins and minerals. They are particularly beneficial if you wish to lower or regulate your blood sugar. Vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, manganese and folate can keep your blood sugar level down by making sure that the sugars you consume are properly metabolized. Leeks can also do wonders for your cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that regularly consuming leeks can increase the levels of high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) in your body while lowering the levels of low cholesterol lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). As you probably know, high levels of bad cholesterol in the body can eventually lead to heart disease or stroke.
Leeks should be washed thoroughly prior to cooking. This will remove any dirt or dust in the underlying layers of the leeks. Before cooking, you should also cut away the small roots and the outer layer.
No matter what part of the world you visit, chances are you will see people using onions in their cooking. Onions are not only known for their unmistakable flavor but also for their many health benefits. Both fresh and cooked onions have anti-platelet adhesive properties, which prevents blood from clotting and causing thrombosis. If you suffer from high blood pressure, onions can also help your condition. Since they are rich in flavonoids, onions are also effective in preventing heart disease. If you suffer from diabetes, onions can also help you regulate blood sugar levels. Research has also shown that onions can help promote longevity.
Onions can also be beneficial if you're suffering from any of the following conditions: coughs, colds, insomnia, influenza, obesity, vertigo, pneumonia, bronchitis and tuberculosis.
Garlic is another spice that is commonly used to flavor dishes in many cultures. Like leeks and onions, garlic is also packed with many health benefits. For instance, garlic is particularly effective in clearing up throat infections. If you are suffering from coughs or the common cold, try eating at least two cloves of garlic a day. Garlic also prevents respiratory tract infections. Research has shown that taking garlic every day for at least five months can dramatically lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Another important health benefit of garlic is its cancer-preventing ability. In fact, research has shown that garlic contains as many as 30 compounds that are able to block agents that cause cancer. Garlic is particularly good for lung, stomach and liver cancer. If you are prone to warts, you can also use garlic as an effective remedy. Rub some fresh garlic on the affected area every night until the warts clear up.