What Are Health Benefits of Hearts of Palm?

health-benefits-hearts-palm Credit: Juanmonino/E+/Getty Images

Heart of palm is rich in fiber, iron and folate, and it contains low levels of other important nutrients. It's also a low-fat, cholesterol-free food.

A one-cup serving of heart of palm contains 3.5 grams of fiber, about a tenth of the recommended daily amount. Fiber may lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Heart of palm contains 4.5 milligrams of iron per cup, which helps the body build red blood cells, boost immunity and prevent fatigue. A one-cup serving supplies 57 micrograms of folate, which is not only a necessary nutrient for turning food into energy but also may help lower the risk of birth defects like spina bifida. Heart of palm contains small amounts of potassium, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin C. Its only real drawback is the level of sodium in some brands, since it's often packed in salt water; a cup can contain up to 622 milligrams of sodium, almost half the daily amount of 1,500 milligrams or less recommended by the American Heart Association. To make the most of the health benefits of packaged hearts of palm, choose brands that are lower in sodium. It can also occasionally be found fresh in some specialty markets.