Eat Your Greens — Every Day!

According to ayurveda, dark green leafy vegetables have a special place in the daily diet — they are considered a particularly nutritious class of vegetables. And modern science says they contain important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamins B1 and B2.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, swiss chard, mustard greens, bok choy greens, sorrel, turnip greens and many varieties of kale offer riches of health benefits. Ayurveda recommends that you have some leafy greens each day to help meet the nutritional requirements for optimal health.

Since most of our body consists of water, it is important to properly hydrate the body. Leafy greens contain nutritious juices that help to replenish liquid in the system. For this reason, they also help to purify the subtle channels of the body, called shrotas. The natural juices and fibers help to purify and refresh the physiology. They also contain a lot of prana, or life energy that provides sustenance to mind and body when we consume them on a regular basis.

Leafy greens help to balance Pitta and Kapha. People who need to balance Vata should also eat them, prepared with ghee or olive oil and Vata-balancing spices. They are very beneficial for people suffering from skin problems, as they are cooling, gently purifying and nourishing for the skin. Due to the high mineral content of calcium and vitamin A, leafy greens are highly beneficial for reproductive health and menopause. They contain antioxidants that help to prevent aging and disease.

There are different methods to cook leafy greens. Some are tender and cook very quickly, while others such as kale may need long cooking. It is best to keep the leaf part whole when cooking. However, if there are tough stems, such as on collard greens and kale, then it is best to slice the stem into bite-size pieces. The tough stem should be cooked until tender, or it may cause abdominal discomfort. It is important to purchase organic greens whenever available. Choose fresh, green, moist leaves for best flavor.

Prana Dhal

Sautéed Swiss Chard

The following is a simple recipe that you can use when you need instant energy:

Recipe for a Natural Energy Boost

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.