Sorrel, a sour-tasting, spring green, is used in salads, quiches and other dishes. While popular for use in France, you may not find it easily in your local grocery store. Its leaves are quite perishable, making the window of its availability quite small -- your best bet is either growing it yourself or checking your local farmer's market. Its lemon flavor adds zest to recipes, along with a range of nutritional value.
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An excellent choice for diet-friendly greens, a 1/2-cup serving of fresh sorrel leaves contains 15 calories. The leaves contribute 0.5 g of fat to your diet, as well. Sorrel serves up roughage in the form of fiber, providing 2 g, or 5.2 to 8 percent of recommended 25 to 38 g. This nutrient promotes the health of your bowels, helping to prevent diarrhea and constipation. You will also get 1 g of protein per serving. This amount will not meet your daily need, so be sure to supplement your diet with protein-rich foods to consume 46 to 56 g daily.
Incorporating sorrel into your diet gives you access to one of nature’s vitamin C foods – a 1/2-cup serving of this tart green provides you with 53 percent of the daily recommended intake. If you have recently sustained an injury, eating foods high in vitamin C helps your body heal properly. You may also consider adding sorrel to your meal plan if you’re a smoker; the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that smoking decreases the amount of vitamin C available for use in your body. One serving of sorrel contains 6 percent of the vitamin A you need daily as well, which bolsters your eyesight.
Sorrel makes a smart choice for boosting your iron intake without adding many calories to your diet: 1 portion has 8 percent of the iron your body requires each day. The iron you eat has a direct effect on the amount of oxygen in your body, which influences energy levels and cognitive function. Additionally, eating sorrel leaves provides 3 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium, a mineral needed for strong bones and teeth.
Sorrel’s lemon flavor comes from oxalic acid. Unfortunately, the oxalic acid content makes sorrel a poor choice if you have a tendency to develop kidney stones. Oxalic acid can decrease your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which allows oxalate or calcium oxalate stones to form in the kidneys. Your physician may suggest increasing your calcium intake to combat this problem. You should also consider reducing or removing sorrel and other foods high in oxalic acid from your diet.