Last Updated on Jun 16, 2017

What is Leek?

Wild Leek or broadleaf is a close relative of garlic and onions. Botanically, it is known as Allium ampeloprasum. Studies have found that leek is a medicinal plant with a great pharmaceutical potential.

Leeks look like giant scallions with a long white cylindrical stalk and a small bulb. The leaves are dark green in color and are broad, flat and long. The leaves overlap each other and they look like a tightly rolled newspaper.

Leek contains a high amount of sulfur compounds, which are responsible for its pungent taste and aroma. In addition to this, these sulfur compounds are also responsible for promoting good health. This vegetable is also quantified with other compounds such as beta-carotene, lutein and vitamin C.

Leeks are usually consumed in boiled or fried form. It is sometimes eaten raw or seasoned with olive oil and vinegar.

Health Benefits of Leeks

Antioxidant Potential of Leeks:

Leeks are loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. The green portion of leek has a higher ability to scavenge free radicals as compared to the white portion. Such a potential of leek is attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds in it. Furthermore, vitamin C, a natural antioxidant present in leek protects against various diseases and infections as it boosts immunity.

Leek contains Vitamin C, a Natural Antioxidant which Promotes Immunity

Helps in Improving Lipid Profile:

Research has revealed that leeks possess hypolipidemic effect and they help in protecting against cardiovascular diseases too.

A compound named "d-limonene" present in leek contains essential oils that lower the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver.

Leek also contains ferulic acid which increases the excretion of triglycerides in feces. Leek can be added to a low-fat diet to enhance the process of lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Anti-Hypertensive Effect of Leeks:

Regular consumption of leeks increases the production of nitric oxide, a compound that widens the arteries and ensures smooth blood flow all throughout the body. It inhibits constriction of arteries and blood vessels and protects their inner lining.

Leek contains a compound called kaempferol, which is known to protect blood vessel linings from damage by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels to dilate and relax.

Anti-Ulcer Property of Leeks:

Gastric ulcers are sores that develop on the inner lining of the stomach or small intestine.

Studies have found that healthy compounds present in leeks protect the inner lining of the stomach and inhibit the formation of gastric ulcers.

Anti-inflammatory medicines are used in the treatment of ulcers. Leeks inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds and thus lowers overall inflammation. Therefore, leeks work as anti-ulcer drugs and hence, they help in the healing of gastric ulcers.

Furthermore, research revealed that regular consumption of leeks, not only reduced the size of gastric ulcers but they also helped in protecting the inner lining of the stomach.

Regular Consumption of Leeks Helps Heal Gastric Ulcers

Anti-Diabetic Potential of Leeks:

Research has observed that leeks have a great potential to lower high blood glucose levels.

Leeks improve insulin sensitivity and thus, they enhance uptake of glucose by the muscles. Hence, glucose is used as a source of energy rather than being present in the blood. Such a hypoglycemic property of leeks is attributed to the presence of sulfur compounds and flavonoids in them.

Furthermore, antioxidants present in leeks protect the beta-cells, as well as, the pancreas against the attack of free radicals. They also reduce oxidative stress and delay the onset of diabetic complications.

Liver-Protective Role of Leeks:

The liver is a frequent target of a number of toxins. Eating foods such as leeks help in detoxification of the liver and improve overall liver function.

Sulfur compounds present in leek bind the toxins and eliminate them from the body. Furthermore, eating leeks during a liver infection reduces the liver damage and improves its function.

It further helps in normalizing the level of liver enzymes which are otherwise high during a liver infection or damage.

Thus, eating leeks can help in the regeneration of liver cells and improves overall liver health.

Consuming Leeks Improve Overall Liver Health

Loaded with Dietary Fiber:

Leeks are an amazing source of calcium, folic acid (vitamin B9) and dietary fiber. Its high fiber content improves overall digestion.

It promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and thus, it helps in keeping the gut healthy.

Production of healthy bacteria in the gut improves the health of other organs, especially liver and kidneys.

Anti-Cancer Potential of Leeks:

Leeks contain various compounds such as pentanol, methyl furan, and octa decan that lower the risk of intestinal cancer. These compounds inhibit the multiplication of cancer cells and prevent their further spread.

Sulfur compounds present in leeks detoxify the cancer-causing toxins and thus, protect the body against their harmful action. Furthermore, they lead to the death of cancer cells and save other healthy cells of the body against attack.

Other Health Benefits of Leeks:

Leeks have laxative property and thus, they help in relieving constipation. This vegetable is a natural diuretic, antiseptic and an anti-arthritic agent.

Furthermore, regular consumption of leeks helps in fighting against fungal and bacterial infections.

Besides this, leeks help in protecting the heart and thus, keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay.

Leeks Keep Heart Diseases at Bay

Recipe Using Leeks

Braised Leeks:


  • Leeks: 4
  • Vegetable broth: 4 cups
  • Garlic: 2-3 cloves
  • Coriander: 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
  • Black pepper powder: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Olive oil- 2 teaspoons

Method of Preparation:

  • Remove the outer dark green leaves from leeks. Trim the roots and cut them into 2 halves lengthwise. Wash the leeks properly.
  • In a pan, add some olive oil and finely chopped garlic. Once the garlic turns brown, add the vegetable stock, chopped coriander leaves, pepper powder and salt.
  • Stir it well, add leeks and cover it. Allow it to cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  • Transfer the leeks to a serving dish and add some more pepper powder if required.

Nutrition Facts for Leeks

The nutritional values of "Leeks" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 61
Protein 1.5 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 14.2 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 59 mg 5.9 %
Copper, Cu 0.12 mg 6 %
Iron, Fe 2.1  mg 11.67 %
Magnesium, Mg 28 mg 7 %
Manganese, Mn 0.48 mg 24.05 %
Phosphorus, P 35 mg 3.5 %
Potassium, K 180  mg 5.14 %
Selenium, Se 1 mcg 1.43 %
Sodium, Na 20 mg 0.83 %
Zinc, Zn 0.12 mg 0.8 %
Vitamin A 1667  IU 33.34 %
Vitamin C 12 mg 20 %
Vitamin B6 0.23 mg 11.65 %
Vitamin E 0.92 mg 3.07 %
Vitamin K 47  mcg 58.75 %
Riboflavin 0.03  mg 1.76 %
Thiamin 0.06 mg 4 %
Folate, DFE 64  mcg 16 %
Niacin 0.4  mg 2 %
Sugars 3.9 g
Fiber 1.8  g 7.2 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 83 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 1000  mcg
Choline 9.5 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.


  1. Antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition as a function of genetic diversity of wild Tunisian leek (Allium ampeloprasum L.) - (
  2. Antioxidant capacity, total phenolic and ascorbate content as a function of the genetic diversity of leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum). - (
  3. Antioxidant activity of ultrasonic extracts of leek A llium porrum L. - (
  4. Effects of Persian leek (Allium ampeloprasum) on hepatic lipids and the expression of proinflammatory gene in hamsters fed a high-fat/ high-cholesterol diet - (
  5. Study of the effect of Allium porrum on hypertension induced in rats - (
  6. Tissue Culture Study of The Medicinal Plant Leek (Allium Ampeloprasum L) - (
  7. Allium vegetables and organosulfur compounds: do they help prevent cancer? - (

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