Betel leaves aka paan has been a part of Indian culture for centuries. This small but mighty leaf has captured the hearts and taste buds of millions of Indians. From weddings to festivals, paan is an essential part of every celebration, making its way into the hearts of both the young and the old. But did you know that paan is not just a fun and flavourful leaf, but is also packed with health benefits? Yes, you read that right! From controlling diabetes to reducing stress, this humble leaf has numerous medicinal properties that can work wonders for your health.
According to ResearchGate, around 15 to 20 million people in India consume betel leaves every year. This leaf is traditionally cultivated in an area of 55,000 hectares in India, with an annual production of about 9000 million rupees. On average, about 66 percent of the production comes from West Bengal.
Nutritional value of betel leaves
Betel leaves have anti-diabetic, cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, and anti-infective properties. Per 100 grams, betel leaves contain 1.3 micrograms of iodine, 4.6 micrograms of potassium, 1.9 mol or 2.9 mcg of vitamin A, 13 micrograms of vitamin B1, and 0.63 to 0.89 micrograms of nicotinic acid.
Health benefits of betel leaves
Let us now discuss the benefits of betel leaves and how paan can be beneficial for your health:
1. Helps to manage constipation
Betel leaves are considered a powerhouse of antioxidants that keep the pH level normal in the body and provide relief from stomach-related problems. Its use is especially beneficial in cases of constipation. To get relief from stomach problems, crush betel leaves and soak them overnight in water. After waking up in the morning, filter the water and drink it on an empty stomach.
2. Maintains oral health
Betel leaves contain many antimicrobial properties that provide relief from bad breath, yellowing of the teeth, plaque and tooth decay. Chewing a small amount of paste made from betel leaves after meals benefits oral health. It also provides relief from toothache, gum pain, swelling, and oral infection. Celebrity nutritionist Shweta Shah says that betel leaves have natural antiseptic properties that help prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene.
3. Beneficial for the respiratory system
Betel leaves are especially used in Ayurveda for the treatment of respiratory diseases like cough, bronchitis, and asthma. Compounds found in the leaves help relieve congestion and improve breathing.
4. Relieves stress
Chewing betel leaves provides relief from stress and anxiety. It relaxes the body and mind, and the phenolic compounds found in betel leaves release the organic compound catecholamine from the body. Therefore, chewing betel leaves can help avoid frequent mood swings.
5. Controls diabetes
Betel leaves have anti-hyperglycemic properties that work to control the problem of sugar. Betel leaves prevent the amount of glucose in the blood from increasing. People with type 2 diabetes benefit from chewing its leaves on an empty stomach in the morning.
Apart from this, betel leaves have various benefits for hair as well as they help boost your hair growth and make them voluminous. So, try using these paan hair masks to get the hair of your dreams!
How to consume betel leaves?
For better results, betel leaves should be consumed in the following manner:
1. To control diabetes, it is advised to chew betel leaves on an empty stomach in the morning.
2. If you are under stress, you can eat plain or sweet paan. Its phenolic compounds will help boost your mood.
3. To get relief from constipation, soak betel leaves in water overnight. Drinking this water after filtering in the morning provides relief from constipation.