6 healthy leaves that you must eat and what are their benefits

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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You are surely familiar with most of the edible leaves, but here we will discuss the healthiest leaves that you should definitely consume.

A lot of plants are really useful to us in many ways. We can use it either for making delicious healthy dishes or as an effective remedy for ailments. However, very few of us have looked to the most abundant sources of plant leaves which are healthy. There are many plants that produce edible leaves with distinctive flavours and nutrients. However, to be honest, most trees with edible leaves have dubious reputations.

But what are some leaves we can eat? Well, some of the most common edible leaves we eat are also known as leafy greens. Besides the usual suspects like kale and spinach, there are many types of leaves that are packed with vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein, iron, fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Therefore they’re good for your heart, blood sugar, immune system, and cell repair.

healthy leaves
Indian greens are more nutritious than you think. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Have a look at the edible leaves which are healthy

Priya Palan, Dietitian, Zen Multispeciality Hospital says, “Leaves are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Incorporating them into a daily diet can provide loads of health benefits.”

Listed below are the 6 healthy edible leaves recommended by Palan:

1. Mint leaves

Did you know? Mint leaves can help you battle the bulge. It helps to relieve indigestion and mask bad breath. It is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. It is a good source of minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins like C, D, E, and A which improve the body’s immune system.

healthy leaves
Include this aromatic herb in your diet right about now. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Parsley

Parsley is low in calories and rich in important nutrients such as Vitamin A, K, and C. Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that improve your immunity. They are also important for good skin and eye health. Vitamin K supports bone and heart health. Parsley is also a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Fenugreek leaves

It is a storehouse of phytonutrients and several antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta carotene that enhances one’s overall well-being. These leaves are low glycemic index foods and also aids in better glucose control. Being a good source of calcium also helps to prevent osteoporosis.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and other nutrients like vitamins A, K, and potassium It helps to fight inflammation and boost heart health. The fiber in lettuce promotes digestion and aids in weight loss. It helps to calm the nervous system and promotes good sleep.

Also, read: Make the most of ‘mooli’ and its leaves with this ‘bhurji’ recipe

5. Spinach

It is a known fact that spinach is extremely rich in carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It is a good source of insoluble fibre that aids in digestion and weight loss. It contains compound lutein that improves one’s eye. It promotes bone health and helps control blood pressure.

healthy leaves
Increase consumption of greens like spinach. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Curry leaves

A majority of people tend to avoid eating curry leaves, and yes that’s a fact. Many remove it from various food items like dal, rice, or poha. But, you must STOP doing that right away as these leaves are nutritious. Curry leaves contain antibacterial and anti-microbial properties that can enhance one’s oral health. They can help you manage diabetes, cholesterol, and stomach ailments too.

Here’s why everyone should include leaves in their diet:

  • They are easily available anywhere at a low price.
  • Adding them to the daily diet provides your body with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, etc.
  • The antioxidants present in leaves can make a strong immune system.
  • A regular intake of leaves can protect your skin and keep your body hydrated longer.
  • Adding a moderate quantity of leaves to your daily diet can reduce the risk of heart, obesity, and other issues.

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