Palm Hearts: Overlooked Healthy Vegetables

Palm Hearts: Overlooked Healthy Vegetables

Author: Melania Tesio

Palm hearts are vegetables obtained from the inner core of palm trees. Although these plants are widely cultivated and commercialized, palm hearts are underutilized.

Muhajir Hamid, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia, and co-workers investigated the nutritional composition of two different palm hearts, namely Ialis (Plectocomiopsis geminifora) and Pantu (Eugeissona insignis). The analysis revealed that both palm-heart species are rich in dietary fibers and important minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorous. Furthermore, both Ialis and Pantu contain antioxidant chemicals, such as the flavonoid myricetin and the phenolic compounds protocatechuic acid and chlorogenic acid. Consequently, the extracts derived from these palm hearts showed good antioxidant activity. The extracts, moreover, potently inhibited the activity of α-amylase, an enzyme involved in carbohydrate digestion. Inhibitors of this protein lower blood glucose levels of diabetic patients, therefore, Ialis and Pantu extracts may also exert antidiabetic activities.
Thus, palm hearts have good nutritional value and health-promoting properties.

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