India has a long-standing tradition of serving food on leaves. Much before we got introduced to metal utensils, eating food on leaves was the norm, especially in the Southern part of the country. And to date, this tradition stands strong, as many people still prefer to use leaves for dining. While leaves certainly add to the overall presentation of the food, that's not the only purpose that they serve. They are also considered quite healthy and auspicious. Now, most of us are quick to assume that banana leaves are the only leaves that are used for this purpose. But there are several other types that often go unnoticed. In this article, we bring you a list of five such leaves that you should know about. But first, let's understand some of the health benefits associated with eating on leaves.
Also Read: Why South Indians Eat On Banana Leaves - Health Benefits And More
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating On Leaves?
1. Rich In Antioxidants
A major benefit of eating on leaves is that you'll be protected from a whole lot of diseases. This is because certain leaves are rich in antioxidants, which protect our cells against free radicals.
2. Have Antibacterial Properties
If you're often worried about germs creeping into your food, then leaves are your saviour. Some leaves have antibacterial properties that can help kill harmful germs, thus preventing diseases.
3. Aid In Digestion
Another benefit of eating on leaves is an improved and healthy digestive system. This is due to the presence of digestive properties in certain leaves. Additionally, the nutrients from the leaves can also get absorbed into your food, increasing its nutritional value.
Here Are 5 Leaves Used For Serving Food In India:
1. Banana Leaf
Banana leaves are among the most commonly used leaves for serving food. They are quite thick in texture and also waterproof, making them ideal for accommodating different types of food. These leaves are specially used for serving celebratory meals, such as sadya, in South India. They contain a compound called polyphenol, which acts as a natural antioxidant. When warm food is served on the leaves, the nutrients get absorbed into the food.
2. Sal Leaves
Sal leaves are large in size and quite hard, which is why they can easily be used for serving food. You may have noticed them being used as plates or bowls for offering prasad in temples or religious gatherings. These leaves have antibacterial properties and help kill any harmful bacteria that might have come into contact with your food. They are also eco-friendly, promoting a healthier way of eating.
3. Palash Leaf
Another type of leaf that is commonly used in India is palash leaf. These leaves are often used to offer prasad in temples. Just like sal leaves, they too contain antibacterial properties. Palash leaves also possess digestive properties and can help improve your digestion and overall health, making them an excellent option for dining.
Also Read: Indian Kitchen Tips: Follow These Steps To Store Curry Leaves At Home For Months
4. Lotus Leaf
You must've heard of dishes involving lotus stems, but did you know lotus leaves also play a significant role in Indian culinary traditions? These leaves have the ability to self-cleanse and help repel water. Eating on lotus leaves will also prevent your food from sticking to them. Apart from this, they are rich in antioxidants and can help enhance the flavour of your food.
5. Jackfruit Leaves
Jackfruit leaves are another type of leaf that is rich in antioxidants. What sets these leaves apart from all the other types of leaves is that you can use them for cooking as well. You can steam and wrap the food inside them. When the steam touches the leaves, it releases essential nutrients that get absorbed into the food.
Using these leaves not only has cultural significance but also contributes to your health, making them ideal for serving food.
About Vaishali KapilaVaishali finds comfort in eating parathas and rajma chawal but is equally enthusiastic about exploring different cuisines. When she's not eating or baking, you can often find her curled up on the couch watching her favourite TV show - FRIENDS.