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-Eating leaf Vegetables
Proteins, which are made up from different combinations of
amino acids drawn from 20 naturally occurring types, are used for structure
building, the manufacture of enzyme and nucleic acids. If they are provided in
access, they are used as alternative carbohydrates, the source of energy.
Leaf proteins represent the largest store of all proteins in
the world. The annual yield of protein per hectare from a leafy crop is larger
than other systems of farming. Extracted leaf protein should not replace fresh
vegetables where these are available. It has a different role as a convenient
food supplement, especially to young children, who may not like the taste or
cannot digest sufficient fresh vegetables because of their fiber
A proper kitchen garden produces leafy greens for domestic
consumption at low price and yield are adequate, may bring in some money for
surpluses sold in the market. They are
cheap source of nutrients.
Calculating prices for the cost of either proteins or vitamin
A, they are actually the cheapest products, demanding only 10-30 percent of
outlay for equivalent quantities of animal food stuff. May be the quality of
animal protein is somewhat better, but the difference is usually so high that
leaf vegetables should be considered as cheap sources.
A portion of 200 grams of leaf vegetables may supplement the
diet with 6-14 grams of protein., The quality of leaf protein is different, and
for humans, usually lower than that of animal protein. However, this can be
corrected either by consuming somewhat more leaf protein or by the usual
simultaneous presence of, for example cereal proteins in the food.
Leaf vegetables, even in small quantities, could easily
fulfill requirements of children alike. Only under uncommon circumstances like
a combination of famine and drought would lack of Vitamin C be liable to cause
problems. Even then there is a strong possibility that the people would
remember the use of edible leaves which are neglected during normal times. It
has been discovered from research that four cassava leaves a day would suffice
to ward off a state of deficiency.
A liberal consumption of leaf vegetables is considered to be
the best insurance against detrimental effects caused by insufficient iron and ascorbic acid to nursing mothers.
Carotene is the yellow pigment hidden behind the green in
every leaf. It is the precursor of Vitamin A, often called pro vitamin A. It
has many essential functions in maintaining cellular structures in the body and
also fosters the growth of an individual.
It should not be forgotten that without calcium there would
be no bones, without iron no blood and without carotene no vision.
Since to a majority of people all over the tropical world
sufficient vitamin A is not available, they have to depend upon the carotene
content of their daily food.
Vegetables such as carrot, turnip and beetroot are double
valuable as they not only produce edible roots but edible foliage also of
The green outer leaves of lettuce or cabbage contain adequate
vitamins and minerals .These Vitamins and minerals are known as protective
foods as they actively help the body to ward off disease, and are therefore an
important part of our diet.
It is not the intrinsic nutritional value alone which gives
leaf vegetables the credit of a universal and expedient supplement to the
common diet. Their unassuming way of production, their response to basic health
needs, the wide range of choices and their essential cheapness give them the
prerogative of a poor man's luxury.
Owing to untiring efforts of the pharmaceutical industry, a
halo of goodness is surrounding the concept of vitamins, but vitamins do not
work unless calories, proteins and also minerals are also present. In this
context, leaf vegetables deserve the halo too.
Prolonged or repeated cooking, throwing away the wash water
or adding potash may make vegetables leaves edible. However, prolonged boiling
may cause loss of certain nutrients. Therefore, a soft or at last wilted
produce is preferable.
The practice of eating uncooked fresh salads does not seems
appropriate in the tropics as household of facilities are usually insufficient
and the necessary degree of hygiene difficult to achieve. From nutritional
viewpoint, no leave should be exposed to boiling temperatures for over a
quarter of an hour. Otherwise, there is loss in nutrients especially vitamins.
The value of leafy green should not be overcooked when the
food intake is marginal, In South Central Java, for example, people resort to
rather high consumption of available leaves to supplement their meager diet. A
few years ago, children of this area were compared with those of school for the
prosperous in the city of Jakarta. It was found that their blood levels of
Vitamin A and carotene were higher, but the serum protein level lower than
those of the rich protein deficiency is a problem in that region but at least
vitamin deficiency is not.
Leaves in times of catastrophe can be life saving supplement
in meager diets. In times of drought, stricken people often go to the bush to
collect edible leaves of species not formerly found. In survival exercises, the
knowledge of locally found edible leaves should be make obligatory.