Leeks

Cooked Leek Salad

Image source: kosherstreet.com

Leeks might sound like something coming out of a rusty pipe or a pool, but they’re actually a vegetable in the Amaryllidaceae family, related to onions and garlic. The white bulbs and the light or dark green stalks are all edible. For optimum health, include at least one serving (at least 1/2 cup) of these allium vegetables in your diet every day. One cup of raw, chopped leeks contains 54 calories, making them an ideal vegetable to add to soups for your weight loss diet plan.

The same serving size also contains an impressive 52 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K. Leeks are also a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6, along with manganese and folate. They also contain smaller amounts of fiber, iron, and magnesium, the latter of which can help regulate blood pressure levels. Leeks also have a flavonoid called kaempferol, which protects your blood vessels from damage.

Select firm leeks without yellow spots or other blemishes. The stalks should not be wilted. Leeks tend to harbor a great deal of dirt within the stalks, so wash them thoroughly under running water after separating them. Try this recipe for a classic leek and potato soup (instead of tying the leaves with twine; however, just chop up the whole leek and add it directly to the soup). You could also braise them or add them to a casserole.

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