Super foods were definitely one of 2018’s biggest trends so let’s get to know a little more about these nutritional powerhouses!
So what exactly is a super food? The technical term super foods refers to any foods that is jam packed with anti-oxidants, powerful bio-flavonoid compounds and doses of health boosting micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and yes even fiber.
The most common misconception in India’s wellness scene today are that ‘Super Foods are Super Expensive!’ which isn’t necessarily true if you focus on the right super foods or rather those that are home grown and indigenous to our little part of the world.
Here are a few notable Desi mentions
Green Tea: Loaded in catechins is made up of 30% antioxidants by weight! Making it one of the most power packed super foods out there today. India being the 2nd largest producer in tea also has no shortage of organically grown good quality teas.
How to consume: Hot steeped as tea, cold steeped as an infused water.
Amaranth: This little gluten free grain better known to us as raj-gira or quite literally kings seed- is not only a rich source of minerals and vitamins but also protein! It also has anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering properties.
How to consume: use as a flour to make chapattis, bake bread etc.
Turmeric: Rightly called the king of spices- this sunshine yellow powder boasts a range of properties from anti-inflammatory to anti-viral, anti-fungal and even antibacterial making it the go to spice for healing and infections thanks to the bioactive compound curcumin that has even become the centre of cutting edge cancer research.
How to use: Add to soups, sabjzi, even in your milk or tea.
Chia seeds: The smaller better known cousin of our Indian sabja (aka falooda or basil seeds) being virtually tasteless and combing the benefits of fiber 9 -thanks to the mucilage and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3’s and 9’s., little known fact is that is even a complete protein (meaning it contains all essential amino acids)
How to use: Soak in water and add to kheer, milkshakes or even your infused water.
Makhana: The popped seeds of the lotus plant are as simple and delicious as popcorn- making them our favourite tea time super food. They contain essential minerals while also boating a low fat low sodium profile, perfect for those foodies on a heart healthy journey.
How to use: Make chaat or pop at home with interesting spice mixes to make a tasty snack for your office or kids.
White Tea: We’ve all heard of green tea, but white tea is the new go to super food for those looking to turn back the time (hello anti-ageing). In a study rating 16 various substances for collagen and elastin boosting activity white king was deemed king. It also contains a whole host of health boosting free-radical repairing compounds that are proven effective for a range of chronic inflammatory cases such as cancer and the like.
How to use: Same as Green tea mentioned above.
Mustard seeds: The humble mustard seed has many health boosting properties including anti-inflammatory and even analgesic properties (that’s the ability to reduce pain!)
How to use: Add to bhajis, tadkas and even into chapatti dough.
Kanji: This royal purple probiotic from Punjab had to make it to this list as its one of the lesser known yet super powerful gut boosting foods. The combination of anthocyanin’s and friendly bacteria in this drink make for a potent anti-inflammation drink.
How to use: Consume on an empty stomach daily for best benefits.
Desi Ghee: Not only is this wholesome super food super tasty but it also easy to digest and contains all 4 fat soluble vitamins and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to use: Use up to 1 tsp. a day of desi ghee on top of rotis, paranthas or for light sautéing or frying.
Amla: This tiny berry boast the title of one of the highest sources of vitamin c while also containing a variety of minerals and a special compound called tannins that is said to fight chronic inflammation due to rich source of antioxidants.
How to use: Add a few to your daily vegetable juice or even chop up into salads for a sour twist.
Home-made Curd: This simple often overlooked ingredient is a rich source of probiotics to improve immunity while also providing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium potassium for heart helping and bone building benefits.
How to use : Consume raw on an empty stomach or use to make raita’s, dressings dips or even to soften dough’s for roti.
Green Coffee: Rich in chlorogenic acid a powerful antioxidant that is destroyed once the beans are roasted, however remains high in green coffee!
How to consume: Brew hot and consume the same way you would green tea.