A Surprising Ayurvedic Tip For Salads

Think salad, and you’d usually think fresh, crunchy greens.

Ayurveda, however, recommends that those greens be lightly cooked, just until wilted.

Does the idea of this make you lose your appetite, somewhat?

Well, you’ll perk right up when I explain the simple reason: Ayurvedic healing is very, very focused on good, thorough digestion. So, foods that are light on the tummy, i.e., don’t place too much of a demand on the agni (digestive fire), are the ideal kind of nourishment, say vaidyas (ayurvedic physicians).

Raw vegetables and greens are considered to be ‘heavy’ and take a lot of time and energy for the system to process. And partly digested food slowly putrefies in the body and causes ‘ama’ or toxic waste to accumulate. This becomes the starting point of all kinds of disease.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

But introduce a little heat into your salad, and at once, their heaviness quotient plummets, things become easier for your inner agni, and you’re good to enjoy your green platter.

And enjoy it you must! Salads are nutritional gold!

A recent study done by the UCLA School of Public Health and Louisiana State University Health Services Center found that people who eat at least one salad a day have a higher level of nutrients responsible for a healthy heart and better immunity.

One of my favorite salads is steamed mung dal tossed with lightly cooked winter greens, pulled together a punchy lemon-pepper dressing, and sprinkled with freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Try it. You’ll love it! And your agni will be happy, too!


Janet W-c
Janet W-c5 years ago

great tip about lightly cooking the veggies so they digest better, thanks

Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Glad for the link to this again. I don't think I'll wilt the lambs lettuce tonight, but I'll cook the grated carrot ever so slightly.

Vinita P
Vinita P5 years ago

Thank you for another informative article, Shubhra. I'm not really a big capsicum fan, but I know that it's pretty good for me. I prefer it cooked than raw, so maybe if I warm it up a little and add some to my normal food, I might get more capsicums into my diet.

Elsie Hovav
Elsie Hovav5 years ago


J.L. A.
JL A5 years ago

interesting approach

Susan T.
Susan T5 years ago

I love wilted greens, but sometimes I want them totally raw. I think the main thing if you are going to wilt them is to do just that - very lightly wilt them don't cook them.

Raw veggies do take longer to digest but I had never heard about the concern for putrefaction concerning veggies - only concerning meat which takes a very long time to digest no matter how well it's cooked. But a raw foods diet will "cool" your body so it's not for everyone.

Sophie Hawkins
Sophie Hawkins6 years ago

Hello Abbe. I'd believe a 5000 year old tradition with an entire system of medicine including surgery that has been proven effective and is still in use in hospitals today over a fad diet any day. Send those raw food folks up to the arctic for a winter and see how they do. Oh and send them without the food processors, dehydrators, B12 shots and vita mixes. Ayurveda is a brilliant system of medicine that specifically recommends against too much raw, cold, and dry food as it will over time weaken one's condition. It can be useful for some people for a certain length of time but not as a long term diet, particularly in cold climates and for people who are fine boned-they will get sick the quickest. Beware the folks who are promoting an 'Ayurvedic raw food diet'.

Abbe A.
Azaima A6 years ago

Who to believe -- the raw food enthusiasts or the ayurveds?

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Many things depend on what it is. Lettuce, I prefer crunchy. Spinach, I can do either way. Collard greens can be bitter, so cooking helps take that away.

Anyway, spinach is great cooked and chilled, with some soy sauce and about a tablespoon of soup STOCK (not broth) on it.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Thanks Shubhra.