Why should you chew paan or betel leaf
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Why should you start chewing Paan everyday

It’s outdated and uncool. If you are a millennial, you may have got this perception for paan. Well, to be honest, we can’t blame you, especially after seeing the marks left behind by the paan addicts on all possible corner walls of public spaces in India. It’s hard to get impressed by such filthy sights. 

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But no matter how much you hate it, paan or betel leaf has always been an integral part of culture, tradition and auspicious occasion. Now it is interesting that science has also proved the power of paan in many ways. So, being a paan lover or hater, you must read this blog.

What does it take to make a good paan?

We are very creative. You must have heard of mitha paan or saada paan or even bangla paan. But have you heard of fire paan, chocolate paan, gold paan , silver paan or rasmalai paan? Interesting right?

But when we think of goodness or benefits of paan, one has to rely on the good old traditional paan recipe.

All you need to make a good paan are –

  •  a bright green betel leaf – either country leaf( Bangla pata) or sweet leaf (meetha pata)
  • a little bit of slaked lime water (chuna)
  • 2-3 small pieces areca nut (suparee)
  • a dash of catechu extract (khoyer/ katha/kaath)- Optional
  • one cardamom (elaichi)
  • 2 cloves (laung)
  • fennel seed (saunf)
  • half teaspoon of gulkand

This combination can create wonder. If you are struggling with – constipation, flatulence, acidity, indigestion, diabetes, and sweet craving after a meal you must try taking paan after lunch or dinner.  

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The power of chewing a good paan –

1. Paan or betel leaf is rich in a micronutrient, especially in magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc. It is also a good source of vitamin A, C, B3, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. All these minerals and vitamins play a crucial role to boost our metabolism. For example, magnesium act as a co-factor (you can say helper) for more than 300 metabolic reactions in our body for producing energy, protein synthesis, fat break down, controlling blood sugar level, etc.

2. Saliva produced by chewing paan helps to clean the oral cavity and prevent tooth decay.

3. Chewing paan is extremely beneficial for better digestion. Paan has anti-flatulent and gastro-protective properties which prevent the chance of acidity, gas, bloating, flatulence and constipation. Also slaked lime helps indigestion. So next time instead of popping antacids or digestive enzymes for chronic digestion-related issues, try chewing a dark green simple paan. (1)

4. Paan is rich in polyphenols which act as an antioxidant as well as an antiseptic. These polyphenols kill free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress in the body. (2)

5. Catechu extract (khoyer) used in paan has antihyperglycemic and antinociceptive activity helps to control blood sugar level as well as reduce pain. (3)

6. Cardamom and clove act as a potent antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties. Cardamom is anti-inflammatory and diuretic, thus helps to lower the blood pressure. Compounds present in clove helps to keep blood sugar in check. (4, 5)

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How about some soft drink after heave meal for better digestion?

Many of us believe, drinking a glass of soft drink (coke/ thumbs up/ sprite) after a heavy meal helps to digest the food. Yes, it may feel good initially but in the long run, you create more harm than good by doing this. Why?

Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and calorie. So if you have already overeaten, your body is trying hard to maintain the sugar balance, dumping another glass of saturated sugar soda water makes the situation worse. It’s needless to say that excessive sugar promotes unnecessary weight gain, creates acidity and flatulence by disturbing your gut ecology.

Items Approximate Sugar Content Approximate Calorie Content
Coca Cola/ Thums up (250 ml) 5 tsp 100 Kcal
Sprite (250 ml) 5 tsp 100 Kcal
Fanta (250 ml) 6 tsp 120 Kcal
Red Bull (250 ml) 6 tsp 120 Kcal
Paan -1 (as per ingredient mentionned above) ½ -1 tsp (as a part of gulkand) 20 Kcal

Chewing paan after a meal helps to control your sweet craving. There fore instead of having a gulab jamun (approx 150 kcal) or a piece of chocolate truffle (approx 500 kcal), chewing a paan (approx 20 kcal) is any day a smart choice.

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Bottom Line –

Again going back to the thumb rule of nutrition- moderation. So don’t get overexcited and start chewing five paan a day loaded with tobacco, betel nuts, and colorful paan masala. Remember, all such attractive ingredients are filled with processed sugar and artificial colors. We must keep the paan simple as mentioned above. One simple paan after lunch or dinner should be fine for availing its maximum benefit. Don’t keep any doubt, start looking for the age-old paan dabba. 

Dr. Soma Chakrabarty has done her Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition in 2017. She is based in Hyderabad. She has 12 yrs of working experience in nutrition. Dr. Soma guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve the goal of wellness. She believes in a sustainable diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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  • Manish Raikar , 18th September 2019 @ 2:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing very useful especially for me who crave for sweet after a meal…

  • Suprakas Chandra Maulik , 19th September 2019 @ 7:40 pm

    Very informative and useful article. Thanks a lot. I have got a query. Can the diabetic patients use gulkand in paan? I will appreciate a reply. Regards.

    • Dr. Soma Chakrabarty , 19th September 2019 @ 7:47 pm

      Thanks for liking it. Keep reading our articles and feel free to share the link. For diabetic patients food allowance depends on the total sugar intake in a day. If one can manage to control overall sugar intake, half tsp of gulkand 2 to 3times a week is fine. Otherwise it’s better to avoid.

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