by Ruth Khanna | 30th Nov, 2018
There is a sense of abundant health when we perceive green leafy vegetables. It has a lot to do with what our grandmothers and mothers said about eating them, and today these humble yet wholesome greens are finding their way back to the top of the health charts.
The first thing about green leafy vegetables is that they are packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are extremely affordable and versatile. Green leafy vegetables are great paired with lentils or in a smoothie, or even by themselves with minimal seasoning. They are low in calories and make the best diet food option you can think of.
Anemic patients are immediately asked to increase the green leafy vegetables in their diet, as these are rich in minerals and iron. Power your plate with greens like Spinach, Amaranth, Gogu, Fenugreek, Drumstick leaves, Coriander and Mint, which are easily available in the market, and you will successfully stave off anemia. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in Calcium, some B-Complex Vitamins, Beta Carotene and Vitamin C. Something that we don’t appreciate enough is that Carotene in greens gets converted in the body to form Vitamin A, which prevents blindness.
Green leafy vegetables must be cooked taking care not to subject them to prolonged heat, as their nutrients will be lost. Less cooking equals more nutrients. For instance, blanched Spinach with stir-fried tomatoes makes an excellent addition to your plate.
Ms. Padma, Nutritionist at Star Hospitals, says, “You need three servings of vegetables per day, i.e. 100 gms per serving. Vary these servings with colorful vegetables, salads, and green leafy vegetables.”
Green leafy vegetables are a must for children. Fenugreek (Methi) keeps the blood sugar in balance. Spinach (Palak) is a great source of iron and other vitamins. Gongura is a source of Vitamin C.
“Add leaves like Lettuce and Spinach to salads for added benefit,” says Ms. Padma.
For weight watchers, green leafy vegetables are an ideal way to pack in the nutrients and keep fat away, as they are typically low in calories. They are also said to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, as they are high in dietary fiber, rich in folic acid, Vitamin C, Potassium and Magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals. Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are valuable for people with Type 2 Diabetes, while the high level of Vitamin K in these powerful foods, makes them important for the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone health. The risk of hip fractures in middle-aged women decreased by as much as 45% with one or more servings per day of green leafy vegetables.
Grow your own greens at home, and pick them just before you need to cook them, to ensure you get the best out of these power-packed foods.
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