Wild plants contain almost all the necessary components of food: vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, mineral salts and water. Especially important is the role of fresh plants as a source of vitamins. Most of which are not synthesized in the human body. Many of them are not completely stored in canned foods, which form the basis of emergency food supplies, or are contained in poorly digestible form..
Nutritional value of wild plants, wild plants as a source of balanced food.
A lack of vitamins causes a violation of the most important biochemical and physiological processes in the human body and can lead to reduced performance, reduced resistance to adverse environmental influences, impaired tissue regeneration, slowed blood coagulation, impaired adaptation and the development of a number of serious diseases, even with high-calorie foods.
In the green parts, wild plants contain predominantly vitamins C, K, E, and in the seeds, roots and tubers of the group B vitamins. Vitamin E is also rich in vegetable oils. The fruits of many plants have flavonoids (vitamin P), as well as vitamin PP. Vitamin A is found in plants in the form of so-called provitamins (carotenoids), which in the animal body turn into the corresponding vitamins. According to Professor A.A. Kichigin, in many wild plants, the content of carotenoids is much higher than in cultivated.
Wild plants as the main source of carbohydrates.
Starch is more slowly digested, which is deposited as a reserve substance in the roots, rhizomes, tubers, bulbs, seeds and fruits. Water-soluble inulin polysaccharide, which is close to starch, accumulates in tubers of Asteraceae and some other plants..
Plant-based food containing fiber, which forms the basis of plant cell walls, stimulates the intestinal motor function and promotes the functioning of beneficial intestinal bacteria. However, in old plants, the cell walls are gradually saturated with a number of substances, as a result of which their tissues become coarse. Such wild plants are poorly digested, and it is not recommended to eat them..
Wild plants as a source of protein.
A person can also satisfy basic protein needs through plants. A significant amount of protein is found, for example, in the green mass of quinoa, nettle, and legume. However, plant proteins are absorbed worse than animals. Most of them do not contain in sufficient quantities all the essential amino acids necessary for the human body. Therefore, to maintain normal metabolism, a certain amount of complete animal proteins should be introduced into the daily diet.
Wild plants as a source of fat.
From wild plants you can get fats (vegetable oils), which are mainly found in seeds. Fats are part of the cellular structures of all types of tissues and organs and are necessary for their construction. By their energy value, they are twice as superior to proteins and carbohydrates. In addition, fats provide mechanical protection and thermal insulation of the body. Plant fats contain mainly the most biologically valuable unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins A and E, and other biologically active substances. Plant fats are easier to digest than animal fats.
Minerals and acids in wild plants.
Wild plants are rich in minerals, which include such vital nutrients as inorganic elements, various salts and water. Mineral substances are necessary for the formation and construction of body tissues, especially the skeleton, as well as for the activity of the endocrine glands, metabolism and energy, in particular water-salt metabolism. Wild plants contain significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, copper and other trace elements..
Organic acids contained in plants (the most common are malic, citric, tartaric, etc.) have a choleretic, bactericidal, and anti-putrefactive effect in the intestine, they are necessary for normal metabolism, promote the assimilation of food, many organic acids are biogenic stimulants. To summarize the above, wild-growing food plants can be divided into a number of groups according to the useful substances they contain, as well as according to the method of their use..
1. Wild plants that can accumulate in the roots, rhizomes and seeds of starch, inulin and other useful substances.
Often, wild starch-bearing plants in the underground parts accumulate starch twice as much as in potato tubers. Rhizomes and roots of such plants are usually harvested in the fall, when they are especially rich in starch and other reserve nutrients. They are eaten fried with butter or dried and ground into flour, which is added to bread.
2. Vegetable and salad wild plants.
These are plants that can be eaten fresh, in the form of salads, as an admixture with vinaigrettes, go for cooking second courses, sauces, for dressing soups, etc..
3. In the north, due to harsh climatic conditions, there is no developed cultural gardening.
Therefore, among wild food plants, the group of berry and other juicy fruits is especially important. These include trees, shrubs, perennial herbaceous species that produce succulent edible fruits, which are an extremely valuable food product. They contain the most easily assimilated forms of sugars: glucose, fructose, sucrose, as well as proteins, fats, mineral salts, organic acids, enzymes, vitamins, tannins and various aromatic substances. The population annually collects in large quantities lingonberries, cranberries, blueberries, currants and other berries, which are consumed fresh, and also by processing from them are prepared for the future for high quality food products, preserves, fruit drinks, juices, syrups, confectionery, etc. d.
4. Among wild-growing food plants, a special group consists of gingerbread and beverage plants.
In the preparation of tasty and nutritious food, a large role is played by gingerbread substances, which stimulate appetite, enhance the excretion of digestive juices and contribute to better digestion and assimilation of food by the body. The most important source of such substances are gingerbread plants. So, for example, flowers of linden and St. John’s wort give a golden yellow aromatic tea. To obtain tea leaves (without special treatment), the population widely uses leaves and fruits of raspberries, black currants, lingonberries and other plants. A number of species (saxifrage thigh, three-leafed shift, common juniper, etc.) are used in brewing, as well as in distillery.
5. Among wild plants, there are many species that accumulate fatty oils in seeds and fruits.
These oils can be used for both food and technical purposes..
In remote and sparsely populated areas, wild food plants can significantly replenish the diet. Knowledge of wild edible plants will be useful to extreme tourists, expedition members, and people who have crashed in the middle of the taiga. In a word, to everyone who may find himself for various reasons in an autonomous existence without sufficient food reserves or wants to diversify his everyday menu.
Based on materials on the pasture.