If you’ve never heard of chaya before, you’re not alone. For centuries, this plant grew deep within the forests of Mexico, while the rest of the world remained unaware of it. Ancient Mexican medicinal practices used chaya extensively for treating various diseases. Many Mexican grandmothers still swear by this herb as a better alternative to commercial drugs. Modern medicine has only recently discovered chaya, also known as tree spinach. Preliminary research conducted on the effects of chaya, has shown that many of its supposed powers are actually true.
Chaya leaves were used both in medicine as well as in cooking. The leaves taste very similar to spinach and are an important part of traditional Mexican cuisine. Chaya leaves are a powerful source of vitamins A, B1 and C. They are also high in calcium, iron and phosphorous, minerals that are very important for strong bones. The leaves even contain protein, making them extra-valuable for vegans and vegetarians. The dark green color of chaya leaves are testament to the powerful antioxidants they contain. Consuming chaya leaves often can fight free radical damage and protect healthy cells in your body.
The nutritional profile of chaya leaves actually increase after cooking. Never eat chaya leaves raw because they can be extremely dangerous. The leaves contain a compound called glycoside, which can release cyanide into your system if you consume them raw. Make sure you cook the leaves for at least 10 minutes, so the glycoside compounds are destroyed. Apart from this, chaya leaves are usually completely safe for consumption and rarely have any side effects.
Chaya Leaves To Treat Diabetes
One of the most exciting discoveries about chaya leaves has been within the realm of diabetes research. In one study, rabbits with high blood sugar were administered chaya leaves. Just 6 hours after they consumed the leaves, their blood sugar levels had become completely normal. While studies on humans have not been conducted as yet, scientists are fairly confident that the leaves will be just as beneficial for them. If you’re living with diabetes, try to add chaya leaves to your recipes or drink chaya leaf tea. Your sugar levels will become much easier to manage and your quality of life will start to improve.
Chaya Leaves For Anemia
Chaya leaves are one of the highest sources of iron you can find. It contains two times more iron than spinach does, which is certainly saying something. If your hemoglobin levels are low, consider adding chaya leaves to your diet. They’re an excellent natural source of iron and will help bring a rosy glow to your cheeks again.
Other Amazing Uses For Chaya Leaves
Chaya leaves were called ‘God’s gift’ by the Mexicans and they claimed that it could treat up to 100 diseases. The Mexican National Institute of Nutrition claims that chaya leaves can be used as a diuretic, to lower cholesterol levels, improve memory and to treat a cough. New mothers should also consider consuming chaya leaves because it is said to improve lactation. Chaya leaves contain much more calcium than kale does, so eating it regularly could help prevent osteoporosis. It can even be used for treating acne, kidney stones and obesity.
How To Use Chaya Leaves
You can add chaya leaves to your recipes and cook it like any other leafy green. Chaya leaves taste very similar to spinach and swiss chard, so they make a delicious addition to any meal. You can also brew fresh chaya leaf tea and consume it every morning to take full advantage of its many benefits.
6 fresh chaya leaves
2 cups water
Bring water to a boil and add chaya leaves. Let it steep for at least ten minutes and then drink this tea. Try drinking a cup of chaya leaves before each meal for best results.