Leeks are not the most glamorous of vegetables. Often overlooked, they belong to the onion and garlic family (called Allium,) and like onion and garlic, leeks possess several important nutritional compounds that make them an excellent health food to start implementing in your diet.
The edible part of leeks are the long, cylindrical sheaths of leaves that protrude from the white bulbous end of the plant. The leaves are very firm and crunchy, and have a mild taste reminiscent of onions, minus the burning, watery eyes. What makes leeks such a nutritional powerhouse is their high concentration of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as high folate content, a vitamin vital for healthy pregnancy. Leeks are also known to protect cardiovascular health as well as having anti-cancerous properties.
It gets even better than that though. Leeks can also be considered a green beauty food. Why? Because in addition to being high in vitamins A, C, and E (the main vitamins that are absolutely essential in healthy skin and collagen formation) leeks are also loaded with silica. Silica is a combination of silicon and oxygen, and is another often overlooked nutrient that supports the growth of skin, hair, and nails. In terms of its role in collagen production, silica is responsible for the reparation and regeneration of damaged collagen, making it a perfect nutrient to supplement with if your skin is in need of a collagen production boost. (Let’s face it, who doesn’t want more collagen??)
One indication of a breakdown in your skin’s collagen production is the development of cellulite. If you are beginning to see cellulite, then your body is giving you a signal that the connective tissue beneath your skin is starting to breakdown. While there can be many factors as to why this may be happening (nutritional deficiencies and a less than stellar diet may certainly be one of them,) the presence of cellulite is a clear indication that you are in need of a boost in collagen.
There are many natural foods you can add to your diet to promote an increase in collagen. I have seen recommendations to eat chicken feet, fish eyes, and marrow bones, and while these may work, they don’t seem particularly appetizing, personally. One great and natural way to boost collagen production is to make a traditional bone both prepared with high quality, organic, preferably grass-fed and pasture-raised bone marrows. An even better natural collagen hack would be to combine the bone broth with leeks, in the traditional French method.
It is somewhat of a European secret that eating “leek soup” for 3 days straight at every meal will help to significantly reduce present cellulite by boosting collagen production. I know this because I learned it from a very nice woman who works at my local nutrition store, in addition to being a master esthetician for over 20 years. She is always clueing me in on some of the best natural green beauty hacks! I have provided the traditional recipe for French Leeks below, but to maximize its effectiveness I like to combine the leeks and leek water to a homemade bone broth so I get a super-charged collagen boosting recipe. To take it a step further, you can also dry brush your skin every morning when you first wake up to stimulate lymphatic flow.
- 1 pound of fresh Leeks - both the white bulbs and the leaves
- Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt & Pepper
- Rinse your leeks in cool water
- Thinly slice the very ends of the white bulb, leaving the rest of the white part intact.
- Cut the leeks at the point where the white part begins to turn to green leaves so that you separate those sections.
- Slice the bulb horizontally, so that it looks like little wheels like in the picture.
- Thinly slice the green part of the leeks lengthwise.
- Bring a pot of water to boil, and then add your leeks and simmer until tender - about 8 - 10 minutes.
- Reserve the water from the leeks and either add it to your bone broth, or you can simple eat it with your leeks.
- You can also remove the leeks from the water, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with sea salt and pepper.
- In order to follow the traditional French method for banishing cellulite you MUST drink the leek water! You must also do so for 3 days in a row and consume the leeks and water at every meal. For further benefit you can couple this with a homemade bone broth.