Hearts of Palm Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Hearts of Palm
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Hearts of palm are tender, white cylinders with a mild flavor that's similar to artichokes. Hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core of certain types of palm trees. The tops of the stems and outer layers of fiber are removed until just the soft inner core is left. If you've never had hearts of palm, you may wonder whether they're worth trying. As a great source of fiber, with lots of vitamins and minerals, hearts of palm make a healthy addition to any plate.

Hearts of Palm Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup (73g) of canned hearts of palm with added sodium.

  • Calories: 20
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 311mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3.4g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 1.8g

Carbs

Hearts of palm provide just 3.4 grams of carbohydrates per serving, most of which is attributed to their fiber content. Out of the 3.4 grams of carbs, 1.8 grams come from fiber.

Fats

Hearts of palm are naturally very low in fat, though they may be canned or jarred with added fat.

Protein

Per 1/2 cup serving, hearts of palm provide 1.8 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Hearts of palm are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin B2, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.

If you purchase canned or jarred hearts of palm, check the label for added sodium. In the USDA nutrition data above, there are 311 milligrams per serving, which is over 13% of the daily recommended value for most people. Rinsing canned or jarred foods under running water can help reduce their sodium content. Raw hearts of palm, on the other hand, naturally contain very little sodium (about 14mg per 100-gram serving).

Health Benefits

Hearts of palm are a high-fiber food with several health-promoting micronutrients. Here are some ways you could benefit from including hearts of palm in your meal plan.

Promotes Heart Health

Fiber is an essential nutrient for heart health, and hearts of palm are a great source. With nearly 2 grams per serving, hearts of palm can help you get closer to the recommended total of 21–38 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber has been proven to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Although preserved hearts of palm often contain sodium, you can look for products with no added salt. Furthermore, the potassium in hearts of palm lowers blood pressure, helping to counter sodium's impact.

Improves Blood Sugar Control

In addition to cardiovascular benefits, getting enough fiber also keeps blood sugars down. Non-starchy vegetables, like hearts of palm, play an important role in diabetes management.

Carbohydrates that are high in starch and sugar are largely responsible for elevated blood sugar levels. Chronically high blood sugar does damage to all organ systems over time. Hearts of palm are an unprocessed food with plenty of fiber to promote good blood sugar control.

Helps Prevent Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Hearts of palm are a natural source of iron and vitamin C. For vegetarians or anyone who is reducing their meat consumption, pairing vitamin C with iron-rich plant foods is a key way to increase your iron absorption and prevent anemia.

In addition to vegetarians, pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, and young children are at particular risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Including hearts of palm on your plate can help reduce this risk.

Supports Weight Loss

Vegetables are one food group that most experts agree you can eat more of and still lose weight. Non-starchy vegetables, like hearts of palm, are especially beneficial for weight loss due to their high fiber and water content.

Non-starchy vegetables provide fewer calories for a larger volume of food, promoting satiety and reducing overall food intake. Include hearts of palm in your weight-loss plan to help you achieve long-term healthy weight management.

May Enhance Brain Function in Seniors

Elderly adults are at a higher risk of malnutrition due to various factors that may include a reduction in appetite and limited access to a variety of foods. This can lead to undetected nutrient deficiencies, contributing to cognitive decline. One such nutrient is vitamin B6.

Although the majority of people get adequate amounts of this vitamin, several studies demonstrate an association between poor B6 status and impaired brain function in seniors. Hearts of palm are a convenient way to increase the intake of vitamin B6 through diet.

Allergies

Hearts are palm isn't known as a common allergy trigger, however, food allergies can sometimes occur with unexpected foods. Possible symptoms include hives, shortness of breath, dizziness, weak pulse, or trouble swallowing. If you suspect an allergy to hearts of palm, see an allergist for testing and evaluation.

Adverse Effects

Sudden increases in fiber intake can lead to digestive discomfort. Because hearts of palm are high in fiber, it's a good idea to increase your intake gradually, giving your digestive system adequate time to adjust. Ultimately, there are several benefits to gain from eating more fiber. Take it slow to avoid potential gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea that can occur.

Varieties

Hearts of palm are found year-round in the grocery store, usually in cans or jars. They are harvested from small palm trees, called palmettos, that mostly grow in Florida. It's possible to find them fresh in certain specialty stores, but they can be quite expensive. Some low-carb products marketed as substitutions for pasta use hearts of palm as the main ingredient. These are generally sold in a can as well.

When It's Best

If buying fresh, look for ivory-colored hearts of palm that are unblemished and have the texture of a slightly soft coconut. When buying canned or jarred, opt for hearts of palm products without added sodium if possible.

Storage and Food Safety

Canned hearts of palm can be stored for an extended period of time in your cabinets or pantry until you’re ready to use them. Once opened, keep leftovers in the refrigerator in a different, airtight container.

Fresh hearts of palm should be refrigerated right away for use within 1–2 weeks. As with any fresh vegetable, wash hearts of palm under running water before prepping or eating them.

How to Prepare

Raw hearts of palm can be sliced into bite-size pieces and added to a bed of salad greens. Top with a light citrus vinaigrette or oil and lemon juice. As a tasty vegetarian meal, try making Mediterranean hearts of palm. Hearts of palm can also be baked, pan-fried, or eaten raw as a snack or side dish. For more interesting ways to prepare hearts of palm, take inspiration from traditional Asian and Spanish cuisine.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hearts of palm, canned. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Hearts of Palm. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Updated 2020.

  3. Hearts of palm, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  4. Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods to Foster Heart Health. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Updated 2014.

  5. Get to Know Carbs. American Diabetes Association. Updated 2020.

  6. Kokx C, Marino S. Iron and Vitamin C: The Perfect pair?. Michigan State University Extension. Updated 2015.

  7. Nour M, Lutze SA, Grech A, Allman-Farinelli M. The relationship between vegetable intake and weight outcomes: A systematic review of cohort studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(11). doi:10.3390/nu10111626

  8. Vitamin B6: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.

  9. Food Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Updated 2014.

  10. 12 Uncommon Vegetables to Try. Berkeley Wellness, University of California. Updated 2016.