Bitter For Better: The Tale Of Indian Leafy Greens
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Indian leafy greens do not get enough attention with the advent of fitness-enthusiasts exclusively choosing spinach, iceberg lettuce or kale to be the new trendy greens. But in India, leafy greens and especially bitter greens have always been part of our diets and are full of essential micronutrients that are beneficial in regulating blood pressure, improving cardiac health and deterring gut problems like constipation. Being full of fiber, it aids in cleaning up our intestinal walls and helps in reducing the risk of more severe problems like colon cancer. Although, some leafy greens are especially available during the winter months, there are a few that can be incorporated year-round and we’re here to mention a few that can grab your attention to be the new ingredient on your market list. 

Neem Leaves

The neem plant is a one stop shop for every ailment, and every part of the tree can be used for a host of medicinal implementations. Neem leaves are commonly used for eye disorders, nose bleeding, stomach and intestinal ulcers, fever, dental plaques and gingivitis. It is also used in the treatment of intestinal worms and can be a boon when ingested during an upset stomach, or for general loss of appetite. Neem leaves also combat diabetes when ingested from time to time and is known for curing skin conditions and diseases. Known for purifying the blood, it also combats diseases of the heart and regulates proper flow in the blood vessels. It has also been an active deterrent for liver problems and has its uses in cases of leprosy as well. 

Brahmi Leaves

Brahmi leaves are often talked about in Ayurvedic texts and has been proven in improving memory, reducing anxiety, and treating epilepsy. It facilitates brain function, alleviates stress, and improves neurological functioning. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help fight the free radicals in our bodies. It reduces the stress-causing hormone, cortisol, in our bodies thereby alleviating stress and anxiety. 

Water Spinach/ Watercress (Kalmi)

Watercress is an aquatic green that has a zippy flavour profile. It is rich in essential minerals and vitamins and lowers risks of heart-related ailments, like stroke and heart attacks. It is filled with calcium, potassium and magnesium, therefore supporting bone health. Its anti-oxidant properties are helpful in countering the free radicals in our bodies therefore reducing risks of cancer and lowering cell damage. 

Mustard Leaves (Sarso ka saag)

Mustard leaves are beneficial in promoting blood clot upon injury and clears up clogs in our arteries that lead to stroke and other heart diseases. Mustard leaves help maintain eyesight upon decline in age and also promote healthy bones therefore reducing risks of osteoporosis and arthritis. It is a diuretic which promotes healthy kidney functioning and can be used as a treatment against sore throats and heavy coughing, as well. 

Moringa Leaves

Moringa leaves are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that contribute to our overall well-being. It is rich in amino acids and actively fights inflammation in our bodies. Its anti-oxidative properties help fight the free radicals in our bodies and lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It lowers cholesterol and promotes cardiac health and also protects the liver. 

Beet Greens (Swiss Chard)

Beet greens are packed with essential micronutrients and are a great natural source of fiber and anti-oxidants. It is beneficial for your eyes, skin, bones and teeth. It is rich in Vitamin C and is important in maintaining a healthy immunity system. With no bad cholesterol, it is beneficial in cutting down fat and helps in maintaining a healthy body weight. 

Parijat Leaves (Shiuli Paata)

Parijat leaves are potent with anti-allergic, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that help combat any fever or seasonal flu. It gets rid of worm infestation and promotes gut health, even doubling up as a effective laxative. It helps relieve menstrual cramps and it also cures diseases of the skin and hair. It controls diabetes and is also effective against dental problems. 

Buffalo Spinach/ Helencha/ Hingche

Helencha leaves are effective against gastric problems like acidity and indigestion. It treats liver problems and promotes the production of bile and other gastric juices. Known for purifying blood it also helps improve overall skin health. It promotes better neurological functioning and controls the production of cortisol in the body thereby improving sleep and soothing muscle soreness.