Known for their flavorful versatility, hearts of palm are the white vegetables found at the center of certain palm trees. To harvest hearts of palm, young palm trees are debarked. Then, the white inner core of the tree is removed and cut into lengths before undergoing several processes that make it ready for cooking.
Those who have access to hearts of palm make the ingredient a regular part of their daily meals by including them in salads. They also make excellent alternatives to meat for those following vegan diets.
How Does the Heart of Palm Benefit Your Health?
Let’s take a look at this vegetable’s health benefits.
1. Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Aside from being a tasty addition to salads and other dishes, hearts of palm are mineral and vitamin-rich while being low in carbs, fat, and calories. They contain vitamins K, A, and B6, potassium, copper, phosphorous, and zinc while each 100-gram serving only has 36 calories and less than a gram of fat. Though it has some protein (4 grams per 100 grams), it isn’t the best source for it so it’s best not to rely on hearts of palm for your protein intake.
2. Good Source of Antioxidants
Hearts of palm are a good source of antioxidants which include polyphenol, a compound that neutralizes free radicals. Polyphenols prevent oxidative damage to our cells and can prevent the development of numerous diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
A consistent diet enriched with antioxidants can reduce the inflammation that gives rise to health problems like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and bowel-related diseases.
3. Aids Faster Weight Loss
Because of their low fat and calorie content, regularly ingesting hearts of palm won’t interfere with your weight loss goals. It can even help you reach them faster.
Hearts of palm contain a lot of water and fiber, making you feel fuller sooner and can encourage you to eat less. You can easily add them as is to dishes or you can find them in healthy food alternatives like low-carb pasta and palm pasta.
Interested in incorporating this healthy food into your diet? Hearts of palm aren’t seasonal crops so you can enjoy them fresh throughout the year. However, if you don’t live near tropical and humid areas, fresh hearts of palm may not be that accessible. If that’s the case, you can find them at specialty stores and some local groceries in cans and jars.
Hearts of palm are popular ingredients in salads but can also be used in stir-fries and dips. If you love its taste, you can also eat it on its own though most people prefer to eat it in combination with other ingredients.
Make Your Diet More Nutritious with Hearts of Palm
Known by other names such as palm hearts, palmito, chonta, swamp cabbage, and palm cabbage, hearts of palm make a great addition to a healthy diet. They provide essential minerals and antioxidants, keep certain illnesses at bay, and can promote weight loss.
If you’ve been wanting to give them a try, visit specialty stores or try ordering online. They’re likely to make your diet more varied, interesting, and nutritious.