Nutritionists, doctors and the friendly neighbourhood aunt will always tell you to eat more leafy vegetables. But after having methi paratha and spinach for a week, you are bound to get tired of the greens. However, you needn’t worry, as there is a world of leafy vegetables for you to explore this season.
“Green, leafy vegetables are inexpensive, low in calories, a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. However, our traditional greens have lost their glory, against the more common spinach and methi,” says Mukta Dhamankar, nutrition expert.
She lists out a number of regional greens such as ghol, shevga, rajgira leaves, laal maath, shepu, alu, maath, ambat chukka, chavli leaves, mooli leaves and takla (scroll down for other names and nutritional values) that you can incorporate in your diet. “All these greens offer a wealth of nutritional benefits. Most contain folates, vitamins A, B complex, C and K, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper and selenium, along with fibre,” says Dhamankar.
The high water content in these veggies keeps our skin hydrated and contributes to hair health. Being a potent source of calcium, they help in keeping bones healthy and in maintaining normal muscular functions, along with managing blood pressure. The health benefits don’t end here. If you’re constantly fighting off a cold, tuck into a big bowl of greens.
Researchers at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge found that they are the source of a chemical signal that’s important for a fully functioning immune system. “They provide many nutritional benefits, with vitamins, iron, potassium, trace elements and lots of fibre. But try consuming them raw in salads, or slightly cooked such as a quick saute,” says Mumbai-based Dr Sneha Mashru. These leafy greens are easily available at your grocer, but if you are not able to source them, then scour traditional markets.
Note: The names of the regional greens are in Marathi. To know the English equivalent, refer to the box 'Know more about veggies'