Winter months often make people prone to infections because the immune response will be low during cold weather. From less exposure to sun resulting in low vitamin D levels to dry, less-humid air being a convenient ground for germs to spread, reasons for infections in cold weather are quite a few. So, it is important to take foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants during the winter months in order to improve immunity and prevent infections such as flu and cold. Here is one such winter food that tastes delicious, is extremely nutritious, improves immunity, and has many ayurvedic medicinal qualities.
Ayurveda and food
Ayurveda is an ancient medicine system that contains a wealth of knowledge on health sciences. The traditional system always emphasises the importance of the food you take, and most of the ayurvedic treatments involve diet advice.
Further, the medicine system classifies food based on their use and nature, such as Shakna (vegetables), Payovarga (milk products), Samidhanya (pulses), Sukhadhanya (cereals), madhyavarga (Alcoholic beverages), and Mamasavarga (Animal products). Foods are also classified based on the season as India has six different seasons, namely Grishma ritu (summer), varsha ritu (monsoon), vasanta ritu (spring), sharad ritu (autumn), hemanta ritu (fall-winter) and shishira (winter).
Ayurveda, having originated from India, seems to have quite impacted the daily life of people. Many traditional foods in India are so similar to foods mentioned in Ayurveda that they can be called ayurvedic foods. One such is the Punjabi dish ‘Sarson ka saag’, which is both delicious and healthy. This dish is not only tasty but amazingly healthy as well. So, do you want to try this nourishing recipe? Here is an account of how to prepare the gravy, the medicinal qualities of the ingredients and the health benefits they provide you.
Sarson ka saag
Come winter, Punjab starts to enjoy the delicious Sarson ka saag served with Makki di roti, topped with makkhan and lassi.
Sarson saag is not only popular for the taste but also contains several essential minerals and vitamins present which provide many health benefits. The nutrients present in the food help in enhancing immunity in your body.
The dish is a combination of mustard leaves along with various other spices. Mustard is a winter delicacy, and its relative sufficiency in Punjab has made it one of the most famous and delicious dishes in the region, as mustard has been grown in Punjab. Makkhan is homemade butter that adds a unique flavour into Sarson ka saag.
Ingredients used to make Sarson ka saag
- Chopped mustard leaves
- Tomato ( chopped, optional )
- Onion, sliced lengthwise
- Chopped bathua leaves
- Spinach leaves
- Corn flour
- Chopped garlic, ginger and chillies
- Salt according to taste
- Ghee (Makkhan) or oil
How to make Sarson ka saag?
- Clean and wash mustard leaves, bathua and spinach leaves and then chop them roughly.
- In a pressure cooker, take all greens, including mustard leaves, bathua, spinach, chopped tomato, garlic, ginger, salt, and water.
- Pressure cook for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
- Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and add cornflour into it.
- Blend the mixture to a smooth puree.
- Heat ghee or oil in a frying pan and then add sliced onion and chillies.
- Add puree into the fried onion and chillies and simmer for a good 15 minutes.
- Your dish is ready to be served.
This gravy is usually served with Makki ki roti (Roti made with Punjabi corn flour), Makhan (homemade butter), and lassi (diluted sweetened yogurt).
Ten amazing health benefits of Sarson ka saag
- Natural detoxification- Mustard greens contain antioxidants and sulfur compounds which helps maintain cardio health, prevent cancer, and also avoid several other long-term diseases and illnesses.
- Rich in essential antioxidants – They are rich in antioxidants vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. They also have folate, manganese and vitamin E. These vitamins and minerals help remove free radicals, which are responsible for the damage of cell membranes.
- Prevents cancer- Mustard greens help treat cancer because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research suggests that it can help prevent breast, lungs, bladder, ovary, and prostate cancers.
- Dietary fibre- Mustard greens are rich in dietary fibre that encourages colon health, improves metabolism, and enables an efficient digestive system.
- Weight loss– All green veggies have high quantities of dietary fibre, which can manage body metabolism and healthy weight.
- Improves mental health – Various studies indicate that green vegetables are beneficial to lower the depletion of cognitive function.
- Treat asthma – Vitamin C in mustard greens helps disintegrate an inflammatory substance, histamine, that is excessively produced in people struggling with asthma disorder. Further, magnesium helps relax the lungs and bronchial tubes.
- Promote lung health– Long-time smokers usually have poor lung health. Carcinogens in tobacco smoke cause vitamin A deficiency and might cause emphysema. A diet rich in vitamins can alter this process, and hence mustard greens are beneficial in improving lung health.
- Bone health – Potassium and calcium encourage bone health and prevent bone disorders like brittle bones.
- Strengthen immune system – With good amounts of vitamin C, Sarson ka saag has powerful immunity-boosting properties that help protect the body from cell destruction and prevent many health problems such as cancer. It is also helpful to treat seasonal and viral infections such as flu and cold.
What are the best ways to absorb the nutrition from Sarson ka saag?
Add tomatoes to your bowl of saag which makes it more healthy. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A and C. Try to use MUFA-rich olive oil for cooking saag. Limit salt content, as it has high sodium, which can lead to water retention. You may also add a few jaggery pieces (gur) packed with B vitamins, manganese, and calcium.
A healthy, nutritious diet plays an essential role in preventing serious illnesses. Sarson ka saag is a traditional Indian dish with lots of health benefits. Try to make this food a part of your diet once a week, especially during the winter months, to improve immunity and get many other health benefits.
Edited by Love4wellness | Images: canva.com