When it comes to anti-cancer properties, some vegies tower above the others. Put leeks on top of that list.
Like their cousins in the Allium family, leeks are packed with sulfur-containing molecules that ward off enemies–and disease. The sulfurous (think smelly) compounds seem to prevent the activation of carcinogens, thus protecting DNA from damage, and to interfere with the growth of cancer cells, leading them to suicide. Plus, leeks contain lots of kaempferol, a chemical associated with anti-cancer activity in all sorts of cancer cells– including colon and brain and breast and ovarian. In fact, kaempferol appears to increase the effectiveness of cisplatin, a common chemo drug, on ovarian cancer cells as well.
Now all of these studies I’m citing have been done in the laboratory, and we still need human trials for definitive proof, but how many lifetimes will we have to wait? Weigh the risks, my friends. What’s the harm in picking leeks over lettuce? (Please read this study.) What’s the potential gain? A biggie.
And to cook, here’s a simple idea: Saute with mushrooms and shallots, another allium. For even more sulfur, punctuate at end with garlic. Or add some turmeric, then throw cauliflower curry on top. Now we’re anti-cancer cookin’.