For a while now leek has been popular among people who want to lose weight or do a spring body cleansing from toxins. Now the scientist found out that leek is particularly good for women since it keeps them from hip arthrosis.

Researchers from London King’s College and University of East Anglia published an article about the role of leek and it’s close cousins – onion and garlic, in prevention of hip arthrosis in women. This was known in scientific circles as a connection with weight and more rapid degradations on joint cartilage, but they couldn’t figure out why. The common thesis was that lower body weight simply does less stress on the joints and therefore keeps them healthy. So they decided to more in detail study the connection of arthrosis and leek which is one vegetable that was rich in minerals, vitamins, fibers and had no effect on weight gain.

Study was done on more that 1000 female twins, which many didn’t have any sign of arthrosis. They kept the detailed diet plan from test subjects and analyzed RTG pictures that can show smallest changes on the joints. They found out that hip arthrosis is a lot less common in women who had diet based on larger amounts of fruits and green vegetables, especially leek.

Scientists think that leek has that good effect on big amounts of diallyl disulfide, an active substance that has sulphur. That is a mineral that has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and since in the background of every arthrosis is inflammation, that kind of solved the puzzle.

Origin of leek

As a food and used in medicine, leek was used by old Egyptians and Greek. It slowly spread to most of Europe. Latin name for Leek is Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum and it’s a member of the same group of vegetables as scallion, onion or garlic. Leek is mostly a year round vegetable, especially during spring when it’s young and rich with nutrients. Plant has a thick white stem in its bottom part and layered deep green leaves. Whole plant can be consumed but the top of the leaves has a pretty rough texture so it’s less commonly used. Leaves are very rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, but during the cooking they lose those nutrients, so it’s better to eat leaves raw like salads. In 100g (3.6oz) of leek there is only 61 kcal, 2.9g carbohydrates but 1.8g of fibers. So it’s great for those who keep their weight in check or have problems with constipation. Leek has a milder taste than onion or scallion, but has more proteins so it’s also good for people doing sports. It is a good source of vitamins from B complex that is good for nerves and healthy skin, and also very rich in minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium and manganese which are all essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. But it’s most important component is sulfur which is part of many types of phyto substances.

Leek has thiosulfinate which during the cutting or any mechanical damage converts into sulphides. Sulphides are phyto substances that act like natural antibiotics and help in fighting bacterial infections. They also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels which helps keep the healthy heart and brain. They can reduce the risk of some cancers, especially stomach cancer and also activate lots of enzymes that are important in detoxification of the body. Leek has plenty of essential oils that stimulate secretion of digestive juices and has also diuretic effect so it’s a good friend of the digestive and urinary tract.

Overall, it’s a very good vegetable if you want to clean your body in the spring from all the toxins you accumulated during the winter and at the same time boost your body with a planty of good nutrients at low amounts of calories.

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