Health Benefits of Heart of Palm

Many of us are familiar with this vegetable's canned form and relish its distinct flavor that reminds us of artichoke and asparagus. Its unique texture also makes it a refreshing addition to various salads and hot dishes. However, what remains unknown to many is that hearts of palm are not only delicious, but also offer numerous health benefits. Therefore, we present to you with four ways consuming palm hearts can improve your overall health. In addition, we also have some tips on how you can prepare a heart of palm for a meal.

Health benefits of heart of palm

Palm hearts have a low-fat content and are a good source of essential minerals, even in their preserved form. A 100-gram serving of canned palm hearts contains only 28 calories but provides 177 mg of potassium, 65 mg of phosphorus, 38 mg of magnesium, 58 mg of calcium, and 3.1 mg of iron, among other minerals. This makes hearts of palm an attractive vegetable to include in your diet.

1. They are rich in antioxidants

Palm hearts contain a significant amount of organic compounds called polyphenols, which work as antioxidants to counteract free radicals in the body. Excessive amounts of free radicals can cause inflammation, damage to the body's systems, and potentially lead to various diseases. Hence, it is essential to maintain a healthy level of antioxidants in the body to prevent serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Consuming palm hearts is a delicious and effective way to incorporate polyphenols into your diet and avoid such diseases. Moreover, palm hearts are rich in essential minerals that are necessary for a healthy body.

2. Filled with important minerals

As mentioned earlier, palm hearts are a great source of essential minerals that are beneficial for our bodies. Potassium is one of the key minerals that is abundantly present in palm hearts and is crucial for regulating blood pressure as an electrolyte. Research has also linked sufficient potassium intake to a decrease in blood pressure. Additionally, copper found in palm hearts helps in maintaining nerve cells and a healthy immune system. Studies have revealed that copper deficiency may lead to ischemic heart disease, a condition associated with high cholesterol and hypertension. As palm hearts are a rich source of these minerals, they are undoubtedly a valuable addition to one's daily diet.
heart of palm sliced

3. Helps in weight maintenance

Palm hearts can aid in weight maintenance as they have a low caloric value and very little fat. If you're looking to shed pounds, it's important to maintain a negative caloric balance every day. Replacing some of your meals with palm hearts can be a smart move as they're nutritionally rich, and high in water and dietary fiber, which helps you feel full longer. This leads to consuming fewer calories overall.

4. Dietary Fiber & vitamins

The article talks about the benefits of palm hearts for weight management but doesn't mention that they are a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber aids digestion, helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and contributes to feelings of fullness, which can support weight management. A 100g serving of palm hearts contains about 2g of fiber.

Palm hearts are also a source of certain vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and some B vitamins like folate. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and crucial for immune function and skin health, while B vitamins are key for energy metabolism and brain health.


Cooking and Preparation

Preparation: If you're using canned palm hearts, they're typically ready to eat right out of the can. Just drain the liquid and rinse them thoroughly to remove any excess sodium. If you have fresh palm hearts, peel away the tough outer layers until you reach the tender, edible inner core. Slice them into thin rounds or chop them into pieces, depending on your recipe.

Cooking: Palm hearts are very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, grilled, sautéed, or even puréed for soups. Their mild flavor allows them to absorb the flavors of the ingredients they're cooked with.

Storage: Store unopened cans of palm hearts in a cool, dry place, and once opened, transfer any leftovers to a sealed container and refrigerate. They should be consumed within a week. Fresh palm hearts should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a couple of days.

Substitutes: If you can't find palm hearts, there are a few substitutes you can use, depending on the dish. For salads, you can use artichoke hearts or asparagus for a similar texture. For cooked dishes, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts could be used. Please note that while these substitutes might mimic the texture, they will not perfectly replicate the unique flavor of palm hearts.

While rare, allergic reactions to palm hearts have been reported. It would be prudent to advise readers to try a small amount first if they've never consumed palm hearts before.

Photo sources:  Kai Schreibermhoenig

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