Hearts of palm are vegetables harvested from the soft core of a palm tree. They are extremely popular in Latin American cuisine, and are exported both fresh and canned to other parts of the world. The vegetable has a pale straw colour, and a tender, delicate flavour. When fresh, it can be a bit crisp and crunchy, although canned ones tend to soften. Palm hearts also contain beneficial nutrients and contribute to a healthy diet.
A 1-ounce serving of hearts of palm provides 32 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. If you’re preparing a salad with palm hearts, note that many salad dressings contain calorie-rich oils and a palm heart salad topped liberally with dressing becomes a high-calorie dish. In addition to being low in calories, the same portion is fat free and has 1 gram of protein.
If your diet is like most, it probably doesn’t contain the 20 to 35 grams of fiber you need for good health. Not getting enough fiber prevents your digestive system from working properly, which can lead to constipation and haemorrhoids. When you do eat enough fiber, you might be lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber might also help prevent certain types of cancer. A 1-cup serving of heart of palm supplies you with 3.5 grams of fiber toward your daily goal.
It is also very good to be included in a vegetarian diet. Being high in dietary fiber, palm hearts aid digestion. The only negative aspect with the hearts of palm is that it is high in sodium. This vegetable has a lot of history behind it; it was consumed by the Native Americans in Florida, the Mayan people and even the native people in South America. They are also a vital source of protein, riboflavin, potassium, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc.
Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during foetal development.
The consumption of vegetables is essential for our overall health as it provides our body with vitamins and minerals that keeps us healthy.