Health Benefits of Fiddlehead Fern: Stop Fiddling With Your Diet & Try Fiddleheads by Joy Stephenson-Laws JD

Nutrition
2 years ago

Health Benefits of Fiddlehead Fern: Stop Fiddling With Your Diet & Try Fiddleheads

At a recent event, I was introduced to a vegetable dish that I had not eaten before. It was a pleasant surprise after I tasted it, but nonetheless a surprise. I’m talking about fiddlehead ferns.

Called fiddleheads for short, these interesting looking green coils are the young, furled fronds of a plant also known as the ostrich fern. To be honest, I was shocked to see them at first because they looked like little green snakes on a plate.

In my opinion, fiddleheads taste like asparagus, spinach and green beans. They are earthy, grassy and the perfect side dish to a piece of fish, lamb or chicken. After I had my first encounter with fiddleheads and enjoyed them, I did a bit of digging to see what health benefits they may offer.

  • Fiddleheads are a good source of omage-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include a reduced risk for heart attack and stroke, increased protection against Alzheimer’s disease, assisting in healthy neurological and eye development for fetuses and newborns, lower cholesterol and improvement in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Research has shown that this fatty acid may even help with depression and other mood disorders. If you are plant-based or don’t eat foods such as salmon and grass-fed beef (which are good animal sources of omega-3s), fiddleheads are a good way to get these essential nutrients from a plant food.
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) is found in fiddleheads. Niacin may help boost good cholesterol levels as well as lower bad cholesterol levels. (Learn more about the potential benefits of vitamin B3.)
  • We all need potassium, and you can find that in fiddleheads. Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that works with sodium to balance the fluid and electrolytes in the body. Potassium also helps keep blood pressure under control and may help reduce kidney stones and bone loss as you age. It may even reduce your risk of stroke.
  • You will also find zinc, copper, manganese and iron in fiddleheads.

Preparing Fiddleheads

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommends eating fiddleheads fully cooked in order to help prevent foodborne illness. It is also probably best to boil or blanch them before sautéing or further cooking them via another method. Fiddleheads also have a papery brown skin that must be removed before eating.

Also check out this recipe for sautéed fiddleheads with garlic lemon butter. If you need to watch the butter, you can substitute with olive or avocado oil. There are also lots of pasta dish recipes online that contain fiddleheads. Be adventurous and get cooking!

Finding Fiddleheads

You most likely will not find them at your local, run of the mill grocery store. Do some research online and see if you can support a small business or local farmer who may have fiddleheads for sale. Publish a post on social media asking about fiddleheads. You’d be surprised by how many people are just as interested as you and who can provide them. I love it when healthy curiosity about healthy foods collides with social media and technology. It’s all about exploring and educating yourself about healthy eating.

Who should not consume fiddleheads? As always, it is imperative to be very mindful of what you are eating and seek the advice of a competent health-care professional if you have any existing health issues or are currently taking any medications as well as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Get more information about fiddleheads.

Enjoy your healthy life!

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Cassiday
Never heard of these. So cool!
Elisa Schmitz
So fascinating, Joy Stephenson-Laws JD . This reminds me of one of our favorite wines, Fiddlehead. Who knew they were so good for you? Dieter Schmitz

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