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7 Health Benefits Of Fiddleheads

Last updated June 2, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Fiddleheads or fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. The ferns have been part of traditional diets in much of Northern France, Asia, and Native Americans for centuries.


Fiddleheads or fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. The ferns have been part of traditional diets in much of Northern France, Asia, and Native Americans for centuries. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are trimmed close to the ground.

Here are the 7 health benefits of fiddleheads.

1.     Fiddleheads can be extremely helpful for weight loss.

Fiddleheads are nutritionally dense. One hundred grams of fiddlehead ferns contain 34 calories. Also, the fiber content in fiddleheads inhibits the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin that tells the brain that one is ready to eat something.

2.     Fiddleheads can help individuals fight infections.

Fiddlehead contains 44 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per 100 grams. Vitamin C is an effective natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

3.     Fiddleheads can contribute to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Fiddleheads have a very high content of potassium and a low content of sodium. One hundred grams of fiddleheads contain a whopping 370 milligrams of potassium, compared to only one milligram of sodium. People with high blood pressure can benefit from consuming fiddleheads.

4.     Fiddleheads are a great source of manganese.

Manganese is essential for many enzymes that help control blood sugar and thyroid function. One hundred grams of fiddleheads contain 26 percent of the recommended value of manganese. Deficiencies in manganese could be associated with impaired fertility, growth retardation, congenital disabilities, and general weakness.

5.     Fiddleheads can help the body create new healthy red blood cells.

If one is anemic (lack of red blood cells), then fiddleheads are the way to go. Copper and iron are essential for the new blood cell formation. One hundred grams of fiddleheads contain 7 percent and 16 percent of the recommended value of iron and copper, respectively.

6.     Fiddleheads are rich in antixidants.

The antioxidant beta-carotene found in fiddleheads has been associated with reduced risk of several cancers. Researchers have suggested that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day reduced lung cancer risk by more than 40 percent. The B-vitamin complex, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and calcium are very effective in curing stomach ulcers.

7.     Fiddleheads can help keep your eyes healthy.

Fiddleheads are rich in vitamin A with one hundred grams handling 72 percent of the daily recommendation. Vitamin A is known for improving your eyesight and preventing night blindness and macular degeneration from developing as we age.

References:

  1. Fiddlehead ferns, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3055/2
  2. Mayne, S. T. (1996). Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. The FASEB Journal10(7), 690-701.
  3. Anderson, J. W., & Bryant, C. A. (1986). Dietary fiber: diabetes and obesity. The American journal of gastroenterology81(10), 898.
  4. Hasselgren, G., Lind, T., Lundell, L., Aadland, E., Efskind, P., Falk, A., ... & Fernström, P. (1997). Continuous Intravenous Infusion of Omeprazole in Elderly Patients with Peptic Ulcer Bleeding Results of a Placebo-Controlled Multicenter Study. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology32(4), 328-333.
  5. Lee, V., Rekhi, E., Kam, J. H., & Jeffery, G. (2012). Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function. Neurobiology of aging33(10), 2382-2389.
  6. Gupta, P. M., Perrine, C. G., Mei, Z., & Scanlon, K. S. (2016). Iron, anemia, and iron deficiency anemia among young children in the United States. Nutrients8(6), 330.
  7. Gupta, P. M., Perrine, C. G., Mei, Z., & Scanlon, K. S. (2017). Correction: Gupta, PM; et al. Iron, Anemia, and Iron Deficiency Anemia among Young Children in the United States Nutrients 2016, 8, 330. Nutrients9(8), 876.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 25, 2014
Last updated: June 2, 2016