Green vegetables include not only the commonly known fenugreek, spinach and lettuce, but also a variety of herbs like parsley and cilantro, and also kale and Swiss chard.
“They are stark green in colour due to the abundance of chlorophyll, which is structurally similar to haemoglobin, making them a natural blood-building food,” says Luke Coutinho, doctor of alternative medicine and founder of the health start-up Pure Nutrition. The multi-vitamin dose in these vegetables keeps the weight under control, maintains blood pH, improves vision and nervous control, supports heart and liver health, dental and bone health, fights cancer, purifies blood, and increases haemoglobin, thus boosting immunity.
For an adult, the suggested dose of greens is one to two servings a day, says Ritika Samaddar, chief dietitian, Max Healthcare, Delhi. However, people with chronic kidney failure, calcium oxalate kidney stones, high uric acid or gout should avoid taking greens due to their potassium restrictions, she says, adding that if you are taking anti-coagulants like warfarin or acitrom, you should avoid greens for they are a rich source of vitamin K, which causes blood to clot. Here are some of our favourite greens.
Parsley works as a diuretic and heavy metal chelator (aids in removing heavy metals from the body), says Coutinho. “If you are looking to boost kidney health, heal urinary tract infections, fight bloating, then parsley has got you covered,” he says, adding that about two tablespoons of parsley contain 153% of the required amount of vitamin K (120mcg for men, 90mcg for women). So, it is definitely recommended for healthy bones and nerves. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory and alkaline minerals too.
Both the florets and the stalks are edible. The vegetable is rich in vitamins A, C and K as well as folate and fibre, says Ganesh. “Eat broccoli raw, steamed, sautéed or added into a casserole or soup,” she says.
Available in red and purple colour, these leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, says Shalini Arvind, chief dietitian, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru. Use the tender young leaves in salads or add them in sambhar, dal, soups or stir-fries.
This nutrient-rich lettuce is high in vitamins A, C and K as well as folate, says Ganesh. Throw some into a salad, pack them into a sandwich or a wrap, and you have a healthy meal ready.
A peppery and spicy flavour makes these greens a favourite in winters. They are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, carotenes and flavonoid antioxidants and calcium, says Ganesh. They are rich in indole-3 carbinol that have proven benefits against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers due to their cytotoxic effect on cancer cells which aids in destroying them. “Eat them raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups,” she adds.
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