Green leaves equal good health

  • By Dr. Shalini Kapoor

Dark green vegetables carry loads of nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K, fiber, folate and potassium. Iron is highly important for transporting oxygen and the growth of the cells. Calcium maintains strong teeth and bones and supports muscles movement. Vitamin A is good for vision and regulates immunity system. Vitamin K protects the bones and helps blood clot formation. The fiber in the green leaves cleanse the digestive system while the potassium supports proper functioning of kidneys, muscles, heart and nerves.

Folate is specifically prescribed to pregnant women as it promotes healthy growth of the baby’s brain. These are the nutrients commonly present in all the leafy vegetables.

Green leaves are rich in essential nutrients and are easily available. They add their own prominent taste to the dishes and give a good twist to the regular taste if used creatively.

Here is a brief on few such vegetables with more detail:

Turnip Greens

Turnips also come with tops or leaves that are green. These leaves have sharp flavors and are low in calories. The turnip greens are loaded with various essential nutrients such as vitamin K, A and C along with calcium.

Spinach

Although the famous character Popeye has introduced the health enduring qualities of spinach, it is still not among everyone’s favorite vegetables due to its bland taste. But there are different ways to blend this rich green leaves in your diet so that you get the benefits of vitamins A and C and folate present in it while adding some taste to it. Spinach cooks quickly, it is even used raw in salads and can be used to make soup or vegetable broth.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a good source of vitamin A and C, folate and potassium. Both its florets and stalks are used to add color and crunch to the stir-fries. Kids love to eat the stalks raw with yogurt dip.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have similar nutrition profile as the turnip greens however; they also come in red color. The taste of these leaves is peppery and while cooking it gives off mustardy smell. You can tone down the spiciness of these leaves by adding lemon juice or vinegar towards the end of the cooking.

Fenugreek

These are eaten both in its fresh and dried condition. The fresh leaves of fenugreek have bitter taste and you can cook and use them just like spinach. Fenugreek leaves are rich in iron and hence are ideally prescribed in anemia. The herb nutrition present in these leaves control the insulin and hormonal level in the blood. It is also rich in vitamin K and is good for diabetic patients. Other nutrients present in these leaves include nicotinic acid and proteins that foster hair growth and are naturally good for the well-being of health.

Coriander Leaves

Coriander leaves are mostly used as garnish or to add flavor to soups and main courses. The dark green color of coriander instantly attracts you to taste the dish. It is a wonder herb for fighting digestion problems such as flatulence and indigestion. Also being an anti-inflammatory food, it protects the body from Salmonella bacteria and diseases caused due to inflammation. It is known to lower the blood glucose levels and control diabetes. Coriander leaves are rich in flavonoids and phytonutrients and are rich source of iron, fiber and magnesium. The vitamin K content in these leaves prevents Alzheimer and regulates menstrual flow in women.


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