What Are The Most Surprising Health Benefits Of Fiddleheads?


Spring season is a great time of the year to discover various vegetables that are available only for a limited time. One of which is the fiddleheads or what they also call as fiddlehead ferns. This vegetable is not available all year round and is just for the spring season. This is why people sought after it. Not only that this vegetable is seasonal, the health benefits of fiddleheads are something to look out for. Why? Because they are so much more than meets the eyes. All of which are for the betterment of the overall health. If you want to know more about this amazing vegetable, feel free to read on to this article.

What are Fiddleheads?

The fiddleheads or fiddlehead ferns are tender, young, and tightly furled shoots that are new growth. Actually, they are shoots of fern family plant, commonly the ostrich fern. The name of the vegetable actually came from its unique resemblance to the violin head. In fact, these young shoots of fiddleheads are so popular among the inhabitants of various places in the world. Most specifically in Canada and United States, where their own short season in the latter part of spring fascinates a lot of food enthusiasts.

The ostrich fern variety actually belongs to the Onocleaceae, which is a unique flowerless plant species. Furthermore, it is scientifically known as the Matteuccia struthiopteris. Moreover, the ostrich ferns being the bearer of the fiddleheads are actually the most common of all the edible fiddlehead ferns that are available in North America

During the spring season, a number of fiddlehead shoots erupt all along the length of the rhizome, which spread of the big fern plant. Moreover, the harvesting season for the fiddleheads is so short and must be done even before the shoots unfurl. Each of the shoots is tightly curled, and are in a deep green color that measures about 4 centimeters in diameter. Each reaches about 10 to 12 centimeters in height. Furthermore, they taste similar to asparagus, as well as the green beans, with a crunch that’s unique.

Nutritional Facts of Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead Fern

A hundred (100) grams of fiddleheads has the following nutritional facts:

Nutrient Nutritional Value Percentage per RDA
Cholesterol 0 milligram 0%
Total fat 0.40 grams 2%
Protein 4.55 grams 8%
Carbohydrates 5.54 grams 4%
Energy 34 Kcal 1.7%
Vitamin C 26.6 milligrams 44%
Vitamin A 3617 IU 120.5%
Thiamin 0.020 milligrams 1.5%
Riboflavin 0.210 milligrams 16%
Niacin 4.980 milligrams 31%
Potassium 370 milligrams 8%
Sodium 1 milligram <1%
Zinc 0.83 milligrams 7.5%
Selenium 0.7 micrograms 1%
Manganese 0.510 milligrams 22%
Magnesium 34 milligrams 8.5%
Iron 1.31 milligrams 16%
Copper 0.320 milligrams 35.5%
Calcium 32 milligrams 3%
Carotene-α 261 µg
Carotene-β 2040 µg


Fiddleheads: Selection and Storage

The vegetable is available in some farmer markets from the late March up to June. While choosing fiddlehead ferns, you must look for a deep or bright green colored fern. Furthermore, it should also be firm and tightly coiled ones. Avoid buying the bigger and unfurled ferns since they are unappetizing and are tough to eat. Furthermore, the scales of the vegetable are a bit bitter and needs to be removed before using it for cooking purposes.

Moreover, the fiddleheads should be used when they are in their fresh forms. Otherwise, store and wrap them in the plastic paper then place in the refrigerator to maintain its humidity to make t stay fresh for about 2 to 3 days.

Health Benefits of Fiddleheads

The health benefits of fiddleheads are all staggering and are all for the betterment of the overall health. Some of which, are as follows:

  • Helps in keeping your eyes healthy: fiddleheads are rich in vitamin A, thus it is beneficial in improving the eyesight and preventing macular degeneration as well as night blindness from developing as we grow older.
  • Rich levels of antioxidants: the beta-carotene antioxidants in fiddleheads are beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer. Furthermore, researchers suggest that an increase in the consumption of beta-carotene helps reduce the risk of lung cancer. This is what makes this one of the best health benefits of fiddleheads.
  • Helps the body in creating new healthy red blood cells: this is beneficial for those who are anemic. The copper, as well as the iron content of the vegetable, is what makes it beneficial in the creation of new red blood cells for the body.
  • Rich in manganese: manganese is beneficial in controlling the blood sugar as well as the thyroid function. In fact, 26% of manganese is present in a hundred grams of fiddlehead ferns.
  • Contributes to the maintenance of a healthy blood pressure: the rich content of potassium of the fiddleheads is beneficial in maintaining the health of the blood pressure. Moreover, it also helps in lowering the levels of it.
  • Helps in weight loss: there are 34 calories in the fiddleheads. Furthermore, the dietary fiber of it is also inhibiting the release of the hunger hormones, which helps the brain that it is already ok to eat.

Fiddleheads are really amazing isn’t it? Even though they just grow in spring, they are worth the try!


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