What Is Heart of Palm, and How Is It Eaten?

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Heart of palm is a white vegetable obtained from the center of specific varieties of palm tree. It’s prized for its culinary versatility.

When harvested, young trees are felled and debarked to expose their edible, white inner core, which is then cut into lengths for further processing.

While most commonly added to salads, heart of palm can also be eaten on its own or used as a vegan meat replacement. It has a slight crunch similar to that of white asparagus, though its flavor is comparable to artichoke hearts.

This unique veggie also packs several beneficial minerals and antioxidants.

This article explains all you need to know about heart of palm, including its nutrients, potential health benefits, and ways to add it to your diet.

heart of palm in a bowl

Rich in nutrients and low in fat

Heart of palm boasts a remarkably low fat content and provides several minerals, such as potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) raw serving contains (1Trusted Source):

  • Calories: 36
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Potassium: 38% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
  • Copper: 70% of the DV
  • Zinc: 36% of the DV

Due to its fairly low carb and fat levels, this veggie has very few calories. Additionally, it offers small amounts of several other nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and folate.


Heart of palm is fairly low in calories but packed with important minerals like potassium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.

Potential benefits

Due to its nutrient content, heart of palm may offer several health benefits.

High in antioxidants

Heart of palm is rich in plant compounds like polyphenol antioxidants.

These compounds neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can trigger oxidative damage when levels become too high in your body. Oxidative damage is linked to numerous diseases (2Trusted Source).

In turn, antioxidants may reduce your risk of certain conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Diets high in polyphenols are also associated with reduced inflammation, which is thought to be a key factor in many of these ailments (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source).

Loaded with essential minerals

Heart of palm is a plentiful source of several minerals, including potassium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

Potassium serves as an electrolyte and helps regulate blood pressure. Increased intake is linked to lower blood pressure in healthy individuals (7Trusted Source).

Alongside iron, copper aids in the formation of red blood cells. In addition, it helps maintain nerve cells and immune function. As low copper levels are associated with high cholesterol and blood pressure, proper intake may help prevent these conditions (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

Meanwhile, phosphorus promotes strong bones and teeth. Your body also uses it to make proteins that grow and repair cells and tissues (10).

Finally, zinc aids immune function, cell division, and wound healing (11Trusted Source).

May aid weight loss

Heart of palm may promote weight loss, as it contains minimal amounts of fat and only 36 calories and 4 grams of carbs per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

As weight loss requires eating fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis, replacing high calorie items with this veggie may aid your efforts (12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

Due to its high water and fiber content, heart of palm may also promote feelings of fullness — which can naturally lead you to eat less (1Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source).

For example, chopping heart of palm into salads or stir-fries can bulk up your dish without adding excessive calories.


Due to its high antioxidant and mineral contents, as well as its low calorie count, heart of palm may help prevent various diseases and promote weight loss.

How is heart of palm eaten?

Heart of palm usually comes either jarred or canned, though it’s available fresh on occasion. If you can’t find it at a specialty market or your local grocery store, try shopping for it online.

It’s most commonly included in salads, though it can be added to several other dishes, such as dips, stir-fries, and ceviche — a South American dish made of marinated seafood.

It can also be eaten on its own or grilled and seasoned to make a unique appetizer.

Vegetarians and vegans often use heart of palm as a meat or seafood substitute, as it provides a similar texture, though it should be noted that it’s not a good source of protein.

Still, it makes excellent vegan carnitas, calamari, lobster rolls, and fish sticks.

Keto compatibility

Considering its low carb content, heart of palm can be safely included on the keto diet.

This low carb, high fat diet may promote weight loss by encouraging your body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy.

A typical 2-ounce (60-gram) serving of this vegetable provides around 2 grams of carbs. As the keto diet generally restricts carb intake to 50 grams per day, an average helping of heart of palm would only comprise 4% of your daily carb allowance (16Trusted Source).

Still, the carb count may vary depending on the particular brand, so it’s important to read the nutrition label when buying heart of palm.


While usually added to salads, heart of palm is a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into many dishes. What’s more, vegetarians and vegans often use it as a meat substitute. It’s compatible with the keto diet due to its low carb content.

The bottom line

Heart of palm is a white vegetable harvested from palm trees. Common in salads and dips, it’s also a popular vegan meat replacement.

Its rich supply of minerals and antioxidants offers several potential health benefits, such as disease prevention and weight loss.

As it’s easy to find canned or jarred varieties, you can try adding this unique ingredient to your diet today.

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