The French seem to be obsessed with leeks and I completely understand why, its a delicious treat with numerous health benefits.
Leeks come from the onion and garlic family, just a milder taste. They don’t form bulbs like the rest of the genus Allium family
Health Benefits of Leeks:
- Weight loss: Leeks are great for weight loss programs as they have a low calorific value. Also, the significant fiber content helps keep one satiated for long and boosts metabolism.
- Decrease risk of chronic inflammatory diseases: Leeks can fight chronic low-level inflammatory states such as diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis by virtue of its polyphenol and kaempferol content.
- Antioxidant properties: The polyphenols found in leeks are known to be strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause chronic disease and ageing
- Vitamin and mineral action: Leeks contain vitamin C which is important in wound healing and collagen formation. Pyridoxine is important in efficient energy utilization. Vitamin K present in leeks is needed for blood coagulation and for metabolism of bone and connective tissues. Iron is required in the formation of hehaemoglobinhile manganese functions as a co-enzyme in many reactions in the body. Eating leeks regularly ensures that you get good amounts of these nutrients.
- Good during pregnancy: Leeks contain a bioactive form of folate called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. Folate consumption during pregnancy is key to preventing birth defects.
- Protect against heart disease: Studies have shown that members of the allium family have a slight blood pressure lowering effect and may help prevent platelets from clotting which could potentially lead to a heart attack. Leeks can help rid of homocysteine, a molecule that can be very detrimental to cardiovascular health.
- Fight cancer: Leeks are a good source of allyl sulfides which have been shown to modify certain pathways associated with the growth of tumours
LEEKS GRATIN FOR TWO – 2 servings
This is a great side dish recipe double the amount or triple the amounts to serve a larger group of people.
- 4 medium leeks, halved lengthways and chopped up in bite size chunks
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 3 Tbsp coconut cream or any other dairy free cream substitute
- 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic halved
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees/356 Fahrenheit
Rub a small baking dish with the garlic just to get a hint of garlic in your dish. Arrange the leeks in the dish making sure to cover the bottom. Pour the vegetable stock over the leeks. Drizzle the cream over the leeks ( you don’t have to make it perfect). Cover the top with the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the leeks are soft.
P.S I read this wonderful article today by Missi Davis about the vegan lifestyle and top athletes. Its wonderfully written and a must read for any sceptics. You can read it Here