“Superfood is a marketing term for food with supposed health benefits as a result of some part of its nutritional analysis or its overall nutrient density”, says Wikipedia.. Most of these superfoods are our kitchen ingredients that we commonly use. But we never understood the power behind these vegetables,spices etc, until the west told us about it. Superfoods from India have taken the world by storm and before we realized it health conscious people across the world have added them in their diet. These foods are not only beneficial for health but also helps in reducing toxins as well as fats in the body.Smart marketing strategies have introduced these superfoods as miracle foods and the western world is going absolutely crazy over them.So lets talk about the wonder foods from India.
Bright orange-yellow in colour with a heady fragrance, turmeric has a unique earthy taste, with a touch of citrusy bitterness and the numbing punch of pepper.It is a staple in all Indian cooking, with its primary compound curcumin, which gives the delectable dishes that lovely yellow tinge.Coined as the most powerful spices of all, haldi is every Indian household’s fix for a variety of health problems. Its incredible list of healing properties include antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory.It is good for the brain, aids in digestion, boosts immunity and more.
This all essential ingredient in our Indian kitchens is the latest fad in the west. The ‘haldi Doodh” is marketed as Turmeric Milk or in a brand new avatar as Turmeric Latte.It is always better to have the raw turmeric than the powder. What I usually do is to cut the raw turmeric into small pieces, grind with a little water to a fine paste. Add a few drops of honey and have it the first thing in the morning. A fine paste of this golden yellow spice when applied to your face serves as a mask, which is good for the skin.
The coconut is really a miracle food. From the coconut water, which is a coolant to the fleshy part which can be processed to an edible oil, tasty curries, to moisturizer for hair and skin…wow the list is endless.It is found that coconut oil is better for cooking than refined oils as it is a stable oil which does not break down easily at high temperatures unlike other oils. It is believed that certain properties in the oil can kill pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and fungi which could potentially help prevent infections.
Amla or the Indian gooseberry,is a translucent light green coloured fruit found in India.Derived from the Sanskrit word”Amraki”, meaning ” Nectar of Life”, the amla is a storehouse of iron, minerals and vitamins and other nutrients among others like zinc,potassium, sodium etc. Consuming it everyday would add to one’s health benefits. It is said to be a great stress reliever,helps in burning fat, strengthening bones,blood purifier,aids in digestion and much more.It improves eye sight,slows down ageing process,accelerates the growth of hair and reduces skin pigmentation. Raw amla is definitely the best option but now a days amla juice, candies and powder are also available in the market.
Ragi( Finger Millet)
Ragi is a gluten-free whole grain common in South India. In fact it is a staple food in this part of the country.It is rich in fibre that helps with weight loss and diabetes and is packed with calcium, good carbs, iron,amino acids and Vitamin D. Ragi regulates the blood sugar levels and also helps in reducing the risk of stroke. Many health conscious people are turning to millet instead of rice.Because of its high nutritional value, Ragi can be placed at the pinnacle of food grains.
The world might have put moringa on the pedestal as a superfood but across South India it has been an integral part of the diet for years. Moringa is also the botanical name for drumstick that takes its name from Murungai(Tamil )or Muringa (Malayalam). The moringa tree is one of those rare trees where every part be it the bark, leaves, flowers etc are put to good use.Moringa leaves when dried can be used as a beverage like tea. A cup of moringa tea is very refreshing. What I have done is washed and dried these leaves and kept them in an airtight container. You just need to boil the leaves, strain and a refreshing,healthy cup of beverage is ready.The fresh leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A,C and protiens.Dry, powdered leaves are an excellent sources source of amino acids.
A few years ago I attended a seminar on healthy diet and living, where the speaker emphasised the need of using desi ghee(or clarrified butter),fresh if possible,in place of oils like olive oil , which are more suited to the region it comes from. Though we prefer using refined oils to the desi ghee, especially the health conscious people, the west has realized its benefits and is promoting it as a superfood. Ayurveda considers it as one of the easily digestible fats used for cooking.It aids in digestion, prevents constipation and helps in the excretion of toxins. Having khichdi with a teaspoon of ghee is a great way for detoxification.Contrary to popular belief, desi ghee can help you lose weight.
The lotus seeds or makhana has a host of benefits which includes managing diabetes, treating insomnia, supporting stomach health, slowing down aging process, supporting oral health, and providing instant energy. It also helps in maintaining blood pressure, supporting cardiovascular health and healing inflammation and infection.If consumed regularly the seeds, which are a powerhouse of enzymes, promotes collagen and restores inadequate protein levels, required to maintain youthful skin. In other words, it acts as an anti aging agent.
The lotus seeds are a quick and handy way to enrich one’s body as it has plenty of nutrients.They can be consumed raw, fried or roasted. In fact roasted or fried makhana sprinkled with salt and powdered spices serve as a good go- between meals instead of chips and other fried snacks.
While the world is gushing over our superfoods why should we ignore them when we know these foods are a power house of nutrients that would nourish our body, mind and health.