Hearts of palm is a type of vegetable harvested from a number of palm tree species. The edible cores from the palm tree stems are firm and smooth, and described as resembling the flavor of an artichoke. Its crisp texture makes the food an ideal addition to salads and stir-fry meals. Palm hearts also contain beneficial nutrients and contribute to a healthy diet.
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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.
Most of the calories in palm hearts come from carbohydrates. A 1-ounce serving has 7 grams of total carbohydrates, including energy-providing complex carbs and natural sugars. You'll also get 0.4 grams of fiber, which isn't a large amount, but since most Americans barely consume half of their recommended daily allowance of fiber, every little bit helps. It's best known as roughage that keeps you regular, but fiber is also essential for lowering cholesterol and preventing spikes in blood sugar that can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Potassium is quite literally a nutrient you can't live without because it keeps your heartbeat regular, stimulates muscles and triggers nerve impulses. It also provides another health benefit: Potassium lowers blood pressure. In this role it offsets the salt in your diet, which raises blood pressure. Hearts of palm are a good source of this mineral. A 1-ounce serving contains 506 milligrams of potassium. Since the recommended daily intake is 4,700 milligrams, this portion supplies 10 percent of your daily potassium.
About 100 different enzymes in your body need vitamin B-6 to do their jobs, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Some of these jobs include the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as the synthesis of hemoglobin. Because of its role making hemoglobin, a deficiency of vitamin B-6 can cause anemia. You also need vitamin B-6 to produce neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood and sleep cycle. If you eat a 1-ounce serving of hearts of palm, you'll get 0.23 milligrams of vitamin B-6. That might sound like a small amount, but it's actually 18 percent of your recommended daily allowance.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Palm Hearts, Raw
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B-6
- Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service: Dietary Fiber
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber
- USDA Agricultural Research Service: Potassium Intake of the US Population