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LIVING

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Part of the Allium family, leeks are related

to garlic, onions, shallots and asparagus.

A standard medium leek is around 85g.

Half a medium size leek is under 10

cals, almost zero carbs, zero fat and

0.5g protein with 1g of fibre. Per 100g

cooked there are 25 cals, 3g carbs, 1.5g

protein. In addition there's 180mg (5%)

potassium, 33% vitamin A, 20% vitamin

C, 10% vitamin B6 and 11% iron.

Leeked information

A

t their best from

November through to

April, the British leek is

a fantastically versatile

vegetable. A favourite

food of the Romans, leeks are lauded

in the Bible (Book of Numbers), have

been eaten by saints (St. David), worn

by the Welsh into battle and are said to

possess mystical qualities (according to

britishleeks.co.uk, a resource with lots

of recipe inspirations).

An herbaceous plant, referred to in

some of the world's great civilisations

such as Assyrian, Egyptian and Chinese,

today Indonesia is the leading producer

of leek, followed by Turkey and China.

Very popular in Europe, where France is

the largest producer, they are also grown

in Belgium and Poland but Britain has it's

own rich supply.

Take a leek

By chance, as it happens leeks can

have a slight diuretic effect, being high in

potassium and very low in sodium. They

have a very high water content (more

than 90%), which also makes them low

in calories. They and are a source of soft

fibre so the low-cal, high-fibre means

that they are good for weight loss. The

significant fibre content helps you fuller

for longer and boosts your metabolism.

The leek whites contain some highly

soluble fibres that everyone can eat. The

greener parts contain the toughest fibres.

Rather well-known for regulating bowel

movements, they are gentle enough to

suit even sensitive digestive systems.

Leeks can fight chronic low-level

inflammatory states such as Type 2

diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis

by virtue of its polyphenol and kaempferol

content. The flavonoid kaempferol, which

is present in significant amounts in leeks,

provides protection to the linings of blood

vessels, particularly against free radicals

or reactive oxygen species. Kaempferol

may also increase the production of nitric

oxide in the body, a substance that acts

as a natural dilator and relaxant of blood

vessels, thereby allowing blood vessels to

rest and lower the risk of hypertension.

Another veritable powerhouse from

the veggie kingdom, leeks contain a good

wallop of vitamin C, which is important in

wound healing and collagen formation.

The vitamin K present in leeks is used for

blood coagulation and for metabolism

of bone and connective tissues. The

iron available in leeks is required in the

formation of hemoglobin. Leeks are also

rich in vitamin B9, and vitamin B6.

The common touch

Leek, commonly referred to as 'poor

man's asparagus', can be cooked whole

(white and green together), in stews or

use to flavour soups like Vichycoise (leek

and potato). The soft white base can

be eaten raw, sliced in salad with some

viniagrette.

A versatile vegetable, they have a

milder, sweeter flavour than onions and a

smooth texture similar to asparagus. Panfry them with some butter for about 5-10

minutes until tender. Sauté with fennel and

garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.

Bake sliced leeks in an oven-proof dish,

sprinkle with cheese or cover with white

sauce and bake for 30-40 minutes at

190°C. Braise by pouring a small amount

of stock into a frying pan, add sliced

leeks, cover and gently cook for 10-15

minutes. To serve, dust with fennel or

mustard seeds as an accompaniment to

fish, poultry or steak.

www.britishleeks.co.uk

Index

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  13. Bayer Contour Link USB blood test meter for Medtronic insulin pump
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  18. Making Carbs Count leeks
  19. Accu-Chek Combo insulin pump
  20. Desang diabetes kitbags

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