We recommend taking a variety of vegetables daily. Health Benefits of Eating Vegetables, Which vegetables should you take in raw form? Which should you eat only after cooking? Which is the best method to cook vegetables? What is the appropriate amount for vegetables? Let us dig in.
- Variety: Include a variety of vegetables. Choose different colors of vegetables.
- Eat Different Vegetables: Eat at least 3 different vegetables daily. Choose vegetables from different vegetable groups.
- Eat more salad: 60% of total vegetable intake should be from non-starchy vegetables. Eat it in raw uncooked and natural form.
- 40% Cooked: 40% of total vegetable intake should in cooked form. Boiling is the best cooking method for vegetables.
- Eat Seeds and Nuts with Veggies.
- Boil starchy vegetables and vegetables with high oxalate content: Boil starchy vegetables (e.g., potatoes, yam, butternut, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.) and high oxalate vegetables (e.g., spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, purple amaranth, and green amaranth, Colocasia. Boiling reduces oxalate content and aids in the easier digestion of these vegetables.
RECOMMENDED VEGETABLE SERVINGS
You should consider your appetite and metabolism to analyze how much food should be suitable for you. At least 25% of your plate should be vegetables. We also provide a reference for a recommended vegetable amount according to age, as below. You can consider it while deciding.
Standard Serving Size
|Vegetable Type||1 Serving Size equal to:|
|Raw Vegetables||150 grams|
|Cooked Vegetables||75 grams|
|Vegetable Juice||125 ml|
|Dry Vegetable powder **||30 grams|
We do not recommend dry vegetables. If you eat dry powder of vegetables, you should not take more than once a week.
Daily Recommended Servings
The following table represents the serving size for fresh (raw uncooked) vegetables.
|Age Group (in years)||Minimum Daily Amount||Recommended Daily Amount|
|1-2||½ serving (75 g)||1 Serving (150 g)|
|2-3||1 Serving (150 g)||1 ½ Serving (225 g)|
|4-8||1 ½ Serving (225 g)||2 Servings (300 g)|
|9-11||2 Servings (300 g)||2 ½ Servings (375 g)|
|12-13||2 Servings (300 g)||3 Servings (450 g)|
|14-18||3 Servings (450 g)||4 Servings (600 g)|
|19-70||3 Servings (450 g)||5 Servings (750 g)|
|70+||2 Servings (300 g)||4 Servings (600 g)|
|Pregnant||3 Servings (450 g)||5 Servings (750 g)|
|Lactating||3 Servings (450 g)||5 Servings (750 g)|
- Minimum: The minimum daily amount refers to the required daily amount that you must eat each day. People eating 800 grams of fruits and vegetables every day have a lower risk of diseases. (reference) According to this scenario, 400 grams of vegetables and 400 grams of fruits are essential for an adult to have a healthy life.
- Recommended: The recommended daily amount refers to the amount recommended to get maximum healing benefits.
According to your diet plan – Healing Phase Diet, Stabilizing Phase Diet, or Preventing Phase Diet, you should take vegetables according to the above-recommended daily amount. If you follow Healing Phase Diet and Stabilizing Phase Diet, you must eat vegetables in the recommended daily amount. You can eat more than the recommended daily amount, but it should not be less than the recommended amount.
For cooked vegetables, serving size reduces to half. For example, raw carrot serving size is 150 grams, for cooked carrot, it will be 75 grams.
Raw and Cooked Vegetables
You should take 60% of total vegetables in raw form and 40% in cooked form. Here is a table for a recommended daily amount.
|Age Group (in years)||Raw Vegetables||Cooked Vegetables|
|1-2||90 grams||30 grams|
|2-3||135 grams||45 grams|
|4-8||180 grams||60 grams|
|9-11||225 grams||75 grams|
|12-13||270 grams||90 grams|
|14 – 18||360 grams||120 grams|
|19 – 70||450 grams||150 grams|
|70+||360 grams||120 grams|
|Pregnant||450 grams||150 grams|
|Lactating||450 grams||150 grams|
We divide vegetables into the 7 categories:
- Cruciferous Vegetables.
- Fruiting Vegetables.
- Leafy Greens and Petiole Vegetables.
- Marrow Vegetables.
- Root Vegetables.
- Allium Vegetables.
- Stem Vegetables.
You should try to include vegetables from each category in your weekly diet.
Recommended Weekly Ratio
There are the main 5 categories for the recommended weekly diet. Other two categories are optional.
|Categories||Recommended Weekly Ratio|
|Leafy Greens and Petiole Vegetables||20%|
Your weekly vegetable intake should include 20% cruciferous vegetables.
|Cruciferous Vegetables||Recommended Form|
|Brussels Sprouts||Raw, Steamed, Roasted|
|Cabbage (red, green, savoy).||Raw, Steamed, Boiled, Roasted|
|Cauliflower (white, green, orange, purple)||Raw, Steamed, Boiled, Roasted|
|Kohlrabi (green, purple)||Raw, Steamed, Boiled, Roasted|
Fruiting vegetables are essential. Your weekly vegetable intake should include 20% fruiting vegetables. Bell peppers and tomatoes are significantly important. You should use chilies with caution and in a very minimal amount less than ½ to 1 per day.
|Fruiting Vegetables||Recommended Form|
|Bell Pepper or Capsicums (green, red, yellow)||Raw, Boiled|
|Eggplant||Steamed, Boiled, Roasted|
LEAFY GREENS AND PETIOLE VEGETABLES
Your weekly vegetable intake should include 20% leafy green and petiole vegetables.
|Chard (Silver beet)||Boiled|
|Kale (black, green, or red)||Raw and massaged|
|Mustard Leaves||Raw, Boiled|
|Radish Greens||Raw, Boiled|
Your weekly vegetable intake should include 20% of marrow vegetables. Cucumbers should be the main marrow vegetable for your daily diet.
|Cucumbers (all types)||Raw|
|Pumpkins (all types)||Boiled|
|Squash (all types)||Boiled|
Your weekly vegetable intake should include 20% root vegetables.
|Potatoes (all types)||Boiled|
Allium vegetables are optional and least recommended group of vegetables.
If you are following Healing Phase Diet and Stabilizing Phase Diet, you should not consume allium vegetables. You can start taking alliums during Preventing Phase Diet. Alliums are not considered as Sattvic. If you also follow the Sattvic Diet, you should not take alliums.
A few examples of allium vegetables are as follows:
|Garlic||Raw, Roasted, Caramelized Using Water|
|Garlic scapes||Roasted, Caramelized Using Water|
|Onion||Raw, Caramelized Using Water|
|Scallions (Green Onions)||Raw|
|Shallot||Raw, Caramelized Using Water|
How to Cook: You should not use oil or any fat to caramelize alliums. Just cook in a pan until turns brown. Sprinkle water occasionally to prevent burning.
Stem vegetables are optional and least recommended group of vegetables.
|Rhubarb stalk||Boiled, Simmered in Water|
You should not take Rhubarb leaves and roots due to high oxalic acid. Only stalks are edible.
- Boiled vegetables are easy to digest than steamed vegetables.
- Steamed vegetables are easy to digest than raw vegetables.
- Raw vegetables are easy to digest than boiled and steamed vegetables processed or fortified with oil or fat.
- Non-starchy vegetables are easy to digest than starchy vegetables.
- All vegetables are easy to digest than grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and animal foods. But heavier to digest than fruits.
According to digestibility, if you cook vegetables in oil or any type of fat (ghee, butter, etc.), it becomes heavier to digest than boiled in water alone. Cooking in oil reduces dryness causing property of vegetables, especially in green leafy vegetables (discussed below).
You should make sure you are not consuming oil more than the recommended amount, as in dietary guidelines.
The best way is to include 60% raw vegetables and 40% cooked vegetables. I have provided a list of vegetables with the best way to consume them under each vegetable category. Boiling increases the bioavailability of nutrients and phytochemicals in some vegetables. Some are best to eat in raw form.
HOW TO COOK VEGETABLES (RECOMMENDED METHOD)
We recommend the following cooking method:
- Chop vegetables in small cubes.
- Take clay pot or a suitable pan.
- Roast cumin seeds in a pan.
- Add some water and chopped vegetables.
- Cook on low flame/heat until vegetables become soft.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Puree: For making puree, take tomatoes, green chilies, fresh ginger, black pepper, turmeric, green cardamom seeds and cinnamon in a blender. Blend the mixture and make the puree. You can also add this puree along with vegetables in the 4th step. Cook the puree along with vegetables. It makes vegetables little tastier. In nature cure, the puree is recommended to add in the end.
- Add this puree in cooked vegetables (if not added in 4th step) and cover the pan with a lid for 10 minutes.
- Now chop coriander leaves and mix chopped coriander leaves in cooked vegetables.
AYURVEDIC COOKING (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Ayurveda advises adding fat to vegetables. Because it reduces Vata’s Aggravating properties of vegetables. Not all vegetables increase Vata dosha. A few vegetables do so. We recommend adding fat in the natural form instead of oils if you follow this method. You can add any from the following list:
- Brazil Nuts
- Char Magaz
- Chia seeds
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Soak Nuts and Seeds: Make sure you soak nuts for at least 6-8 hours before using them. Soaking helps to improve the bioavailability of nutrient and digestibility of nuts and seeds.
Choose Native Nuts and Seeds: You can also add other nuts and seeds native to your area. There is no restriction. They should be edible and safe to consume. We recommended the amount for nuts and seeds in dietary guidelines. But it may differ for individual nuts. For example, brazil nuts contain a high amount of selenium, so you should not take more than one brazil nut a day. So, make sure to check individual recommendation for each nuts and seeds. Check our future nut guide and seeds guide.
There is a specific method described in ayurveda for a few vegetables. It applies to vegetables, which aggravates Vata Dosha and produces dryness in the body.
Generally, it includes a few leafy green vegetables, e.g., spinach, Jivanti leaves, Bathua (goosefoot), barley leaves, Chakramarda leaves (sicklepod), etc.
There are three steps:
- Boiling or Steaming.
- Squeezing steamed vegetables to remove residual water.
- Fortifying with a healthy fat.
How to Cook in Ayurvedic Way
- Boil these vegetables in water.
- Filter and discard the residual water and keep boiled or steamed vegetables.
- Now add 2-3 tablespoons of the recommended paste/cream of overnight soaked nuts or seeds.
Note: The method is modified slightly. Instead of oils, we highly recommend using nuts paste/cream or seeds paste/cream. This method is the healthiest and makes your veggies delicious.
How to Make Nut & Seed Cream/Paste
|Nuts or Seeds (Overnight soaked)||¼ cup|
- Take any nuts or seeds locally available in your country.
- Put ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of nuts or seeds in the blender.
- Blend on high speed until it becomes a paste-like consistency.
- We name it nut cream and seed cream.
Recommended Amount of Nuts/Seeds Paste
1-2 tablespoons in 450 grams of cooked vegetables.
Ayurveda does not describe the amount of any food. It depends on how much you involve in physical work. In the current era, you should take care of your daily recommendations. Check Dietary Guidelines to know the Recommended Daily Amount for most food groups.
Most ayurvedic doctors use the above verses for the argument to advise using oil for cooking vegetables. I strongly disagree. Ancient scenarios and current scenarios are vastly different. Our ancestors were physically active whole the day.
Oil impairs the functions of the blood vessels. Even the world’s healthiest oil (extra virgin olive oil) also impairs the natural function of arteries to relax and dilates, according to research studies. These effects can be observed within a few hours of consuming oils. Therefore, all oils are bad for health. (Reference 1, Reference 2) It does not happen with healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds. (Reference 3, Reference 4)
According to the principles of Ayurveda, your body already stores a lot of fat, Kapha dosha, and Ama Dosha, due to less physical work and bad dietary habits. Microchannels in your body also develop blockage due to excess Ama and Kapha dosha.
Even if it appears you suffer from Vata Disease, it is because Ama Dosha and Kapha dosha block the passage of Vata. It is not due to dryness in micro-channels. It is not pure Vata disease. Your diseases are a mix of three doshas. It applies to more than 75% of cases, according to my clinical experience in Ayurveda. So, what you need – a variety of food.
Dryness of micro-channels will not occur if you consume various foods in the recommended daily amount mentioned in dietary guidelines.
Importance of Choosing Variety of Vegetables
Each type of vegetable has different effects on the three doshas: some increase Vata, some pitta, and some Kapha. The key recommendation is to include a variety of vegetables in your daily diet without concerning about dosha. A variety of vegetables will nullify each other effects on the dosha and maintains their balance while providing complete nourishment.