Morapaat: 5 Health Benefits Of The Assamese ‘Dead Leaf'
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Located on the northeastern side of India, Assam is a state with rich culture and tradition. The cuisine is highly influenced by its neighbours, such as Bengal and Tibet. Rice is a staple in their cuisine and is often served with locally sourced meat, fish, and vegetables. 

Some popular dishes of Assamese cuisine are fish curry, bamboo shoot fry, smoked fish, and so on. These delicacies are mainly flavoured with ginger, garlic, and chilli peppers. But have you ever heard of the ‘dead leaf’?  

What Is Dead Leaf? 

This bitter food is nothing but jute leaves that have an extremely bitter taste. Also known as morapaat (meaning dead leaf) in Assam, it is relished by several communities in the state. Morapaat is the fibre of an edible jute variant called titamora. When being harvested, the young jute leaves have a bitter taste, while the older ones are earthier and more fibrous.  

In Assam, jute leaves are traditionally consumed as a vegetable, added to tea, or used as a soup thickener. This delicacy is very popular among the tribals of the state, mainly Boros and Tiwas. There are many ways to relish jute leaves, but cooking them properly can be tricky. 

Some common dishes prepared with jute leaves in Assam are morapaat aru masoor khar, a fish recipe prepared with jute leaves along with spices like garlic and chilli and morappat gahori bhaji (a pork recipe with jute leaves). Shukta is another Assamese delight that is made with this bitter ingredient. Jute leaves are also coated, deep-fried in the batter, and then enjoyed as a snack. 

5 Health Benefits of Jute Leaves 

Here are a few of the health benefits of consuming jute leaves: 

Protects Against Inflammation  

According to Healthline, jute leaves are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in the body. These leaves also contain lycopene (an antioxidant) that protects the cells against oxidative damage. So, consume jute leaves and keep the diseases at bay. 

Good For Skin And Hair 

Being rich in vitamins A, C, and B2, jute leaves help maintain the collagen levels in the body that keep the skin and hair healthy. It also reduces the development of wrinkles and fine lines. The ideal content of vitamin A present in them is good for the healing and regrowth of skin. 

Promotes Eye Health  

Eyes are an important organ that needs to be nourished with essential nutrients. Jute leaves contain vitamin B6 and folate, along with other nutrients that reduce the risk of eye problems like red eye. So, include jute leaves in your diet and keep your eyes healthy.  

Improved Bone Health  

Calcium and magnesium are two important minerals that boost bone health. According to Healthline, jute leaves are high in both of these nutrients and are known for maintaining strong bones and teeth, along with other bodily functions. This leaf is also rich in vitamin D and vitamin K. 

Supports The Immune System  

It is very important to boost the immune system in order to stay healthy, and jute leaves can help you do that. Due to being rich in vitamin C, jute leaves boost immunity and reduce the risk of several infections, like colds and coughs. You can also add these nutritious leaves to your soups and stews.