Winters is the time when the vegetable markets are flushed with leafy vegetables. Sarson (Mustard leaves) is one of the most consumable vegetables during winters and its combination with Makki ki roti, jaggery and white butter makes it a yummy and delicious dish for everyone. Sarson ka saag is the powerhouse of antioxidants like Vitamin-A, C, E and K along with phytonutrients such as phenols which prevent cell damage and protect against cancers and other ailments. It is also a rich source of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc which are essential for the normal functioning of the body and for lowering the bad cholesterol in the body.
Since it is loaded with so many benefits, therefore, other leafy vegetables get over-shadowed and are almost forgotten. Every leafy vegetable should be consumed in the diet as different vegetables have their own effects on the body.
As per Ayurveda, leafy vegetables hold a special place in our diet. They have a high water content which helps to purify the “shrotas”. They also have “prana” which provides sustenance to both the mind and the body. Apart from this they also help in balancing Vata and Pitta.
Some leafy vegetables, besides sarson ka saag, are as follows:
It belongs to the cruciferous family and thrives in the winter season. It is exceptionally nutritious and a versatile green. It is the storehouse of B group vitamins, minerals, fibre, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. A fact showed that 67 gm of kale provides all the nutrients essential for good health.
Brussel Sprouts (Mini-cabbage)
It is also a nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable. It contains vitamin-A, C, E and K essential for bone and heart health and minerals like manganese and potassium. Sprouts also contain a high amount of fibre and alpha lipoic acid which acts as an antioxidant for keeping the blood sugar level in the normal range and also reduces the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
This peppery taste vegetable contains a sulfur-containing compound called isothiocyanates which have a number of health benefits. It is also a powerhouse of antioxidants which reduces inflammation in the body and fights away cancer-causing agents.
This variety also thrives in winters. It contains high amounts of Vitamin- A, B and C and minerals like manganese and potassium. It contains anthocyanin- an antioxidant having a number of health benefits. A fact showed that people who consume anthocyanin-rich foods are less likely to develop heart and coronary artery diseases as compared to those who do not consume such foods.
Spinach is rich in flavonoids, a phytonutrient that fights with cancer-causing compounds. It is also rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin which protect the eyes from cataract and age-related macular degeneration. It also contains neoxanthin & violaxanthin that has anti-inflammatory effects.