Being vegetarian is the in thing these days. I come across many people, typically from metros who profess to being vegetarian, but unfortunately, are anything but that. I’m amazed at the distorted concept people hold of being “vegetarian” because unfortunately, most vegetarians these days eat inadequate amounts or no vegetables at all. Apart from being powerhouses of good health, we now have substantial evidence about the healing properties of vegetables.
An inadequate or reduced intake of vegetables and fruits could precipitate chronic diseases such as heart ailment and cancer. You cannot call yourself a vegetarian in the true sense if your diet revolves around dal, rice, curd kadi, potatoes, puri-chole, idlis, dosas, pav bhajis (overcooked), pickles, parathas and perhaps a whole range of veg convenience or fast foods which come with oil laden, overcooked and mashed vegetables.
The biggest drawback in such diets is that it is devoid of fresh, raw or partially cooked vegetables and it is in these forms that we can derive and benefit from the healing properties of vegetables. However, broths and soups made from certain vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and spinach do retain their nutrient value.
Spinach: Its succulent green leaves emit health. Spinach is rich in chlorophyll, carotenoids, foliates, trace minerals and antioxidants. It displays blood building properties because the structure of chlorophyll simulates hemoglobin.
The laxative fibre present in spinach helps prevent constipation and raw spinach juice helps reduce acidity caused by smoking or excessive alcohol intake. Research indicates that regular spinach intake could check age-related damage to the retina of the eye which in turn, prevents progressive eye degeneration.
Potatoes: If you’re trying to reduce blood uric acid levels, try raw potato juice or potato skin. To derive the benefits of the skin, peel a few potatoes, collect the skin peels and boil till tender in a litre of water. Strain and drink three to four times a day, between meals. This decoction helps to make the blood alkaline and reduces symptoms of gout.
Raw potato juice is also beneficial for relieving inflammation and pain caused by gout. Take a raw unpeeled potato. Wash thoroughly. Ensure that the skin does not have any traces of green colour which indicates the presence of solanine which is an alkaloid toxin that could have adverse effects, then push it through a juicer. Drink this juice twice a day before meals.
Potatoes are highly alkaline in nature and assist in maintaining the alkali reserves of the body. They’re also a natural antidote for burning and acidity caused by factors such as a prolonged intake of antibiotics.
Pumpkin: Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are amongst the richest sources of zinc as compared to other foods.
It is due to its high zinc content that pumpkin seeds are effective in correcting prostrate gland problems. One tablespoon of powdered pumpkin seeds taken regularly could reduce pain associated with prostrate gland enlargement. You could also consume this powder mixed with honey. Remember, sound food choices and knowledge of the healing power of everyday foods could be your best defense against numerous ailments and your ticket to good health.