People have been eating leafy greens since prehistoric times. Dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of nutrition required by the body.
It is dense in Vitamins like A, C, E and K, and many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain an abundance of antioxidants and photochemical that protects cells and plays an important role in safeguarding our health.
They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.
Many varieties of greens are available in the markets—the most popular green leafy vegetables are turnip greens, spinach, and fenugreek.
Now let us understand the local green leafy vegetables available for the land of Goa. Although these vegetables are easily available and loaded with nutrients, in this era of technology we are forgetting our rich resources and opting for the chemically produced products. We must get back to our roots and consume the food of the land.
1. Talkulechi Bhaji
Talkulo [cassia tora] is a monsoon wild leafy vegetable abundantly grown on roadside during the mirg [the period before monsoon] arrives. This vegetable is being consumed by all Goans as it has healthy and medicinal properties. The edible part of this plant is the fresh tender shoots. Its plucked the same way tea leaves are plucked.
Local name: Talkulechi bhaji [Goa].
· Sanskrit – Chakramarda, Taga
· Bengali & Oriya – Chakunda
· Gujrati – Kawaria
· Marathi – Takala
· Tamil – Tagarai
· Telugu – Chinnakasinda
· Malyalam – Chakramandrakam, takara
Botanical name: Foetid Cassia / Cassia tora linn
[Cassia tora commonly known as Foetid Cassia, belongs to family Leguminosae].
Importance: According to Ayurveda the leaves and seeds are acrid, laxative, antiperiodic, anthelmintic, ophthalmic, liver tonic, cardio tonic and expectorant. The leaves and seeds are useful in leprosy, ringworm, flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, constipation, cough, bronchitis, cardiac disorders. Its leaves, seeds and root are used in folk medicine, primarily in Asia. It is believed to possess a laxative effect, as well as to be beneficial for the eyes. Cassia Tora also helps by removing intensive heat from the liver and improving vision, moisturizing intestine and easing the bowels. Great help for losing weight as well.
2. Drumstick Leaves
Drumstick leaves are abundantly grown all over India. It is used mostly as medicinal herb and leaves are the most nutritious part of the drumstick plant.
Local Name: Shewga chi bhaji / maskha chi bahji
Botanical name: Moringa oleifera Lam (Moringaceae)
Importance: The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, being a significant source of B vitamins, vitamin C, pro vitamin A as beta-carotene, vitamin K, manganese and protein among other essential nutrients. Moringa is used for anemia, arthritis and other joint pain (rheumatism),asthma, cancer, constipation, diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy, stomach pain, stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms, headache, heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney stones, fluid retention, thyroid disorders; And bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections.
3. Vaalchi Bhaji
Local name: Vaalchi bhaji
Botanical Name: Basella alba/ Malabar spinach
Vaalchi bhjaiis locally grown in Goa is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vegetable, mostly leafy is consumed. Basella alba bears thick, fleshy, broad, oval to heart-shaped leaves all along its vine length. Basella rubra features pink or purplish stems and pink color veins running in the leaves.
Importance: Fresh leaves, particularly of basella rubra, are rich sources of several vital carotenoid pigment anti-oxidants such as ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin. Together, these compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a healing role in aging and various disease processes. Its thick, fleshy leaves are a good source of non-starch polysaccharide, mucilage smooth digestion, bring reduction in cholesterol absorption and help prevent bowel movement problems. It is also loaded with iron, potassium and vitamin A & C.
4. Koddukeachi Bhaji / Koddu Bhaji
Local name: Koddukeachi bhaji /kuddu bhaji
Common name: Silver Cockscomb, Flamingo Feather
Botanical name: Celosia Argenta/ Celosia
Importance: It grows abundantly wild in monsoons. Its use as a vegetable is common in some parts of Maharashtra & Goa. Ayurvedic physicians recommend the seeds of this plant for treating kidney stones. Flower and seed is astringent, haemostatic, ophthalmic, parasiticide and poultice. It is used in the treatment of bloody stool, haemorrhoid bleeding, uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea and diarrhoea.
Beta-carotene: extremely high in leaves; vitamin E: medium; folic acid: high; ascorbic acid: medium; calcium: medium; iron: medium; protein: 4.7%. Leaves contain also amaranthine (betacyanin), oxalic acid (ca. 0.2%) and phytic acid (ca. 0.12%).
5. Colocassia Leaf
Local Name: Taro / Aalu leaf
Botanical Name: Colocasia esculenta
Importance: Taro is one of the finest sources of dietary fibers. They carry high-quality phyto-nutrition profile comprising of dietary fiber, and antioxidants in addition to moderate proportions of minerals and vitamins. Tender leaves have significant levels of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants such as ß-carotenes, and cryptoxanthin along with vitamin A. 100 g fresh taro leaves provide 4825 IU or 161% of RDA of vitamin A. Altogether, these compounds are required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. It also contains good levels of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), folates, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin.
Further, the corms provide healthy amounts of some of important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. In addition, the root has very good amounts of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Taro Root likewise helps with irritability, reduces blood pressure, helps prevent cell damage, helps you to safeguard from colds and flues, aids in skin rashes, nausea, as well as aids you to control cholesterol, builds strong bones, as well as supports thyroid function.