Raw Papaya to Green Banana: Health Benefits of Unripe Foods
Unripe foods are powerful health promoters.
Unripe foods are powerful health promoters. Their benefits aren’t understood though. Time to change that and include the ones that really matter more in our diets to take up our health quotient higher.
Green or Raw Mango
Summer is on to us. Before the fruit everyone is waiting for, the mango, comes in season, the raw mangoes become available. Earlier moms would buy kilos of raw mango to make pickle. Today, we often miss out on this sour treat and zone in directly to the ripe mangoes. That’s unfortunate, as green mango is one of the healthiest fruits you can eat in the beginning of summer.
It’s one of the most cooling food items around and prevents the loss of electrolytes, water and iron from the body that happens due to sweating. It also helps prevent heatstrokes.
In fact, one of the best remedy against heatstroke is to sip a glass of aam panna.
Since it has a lower amount of sugar as compared to ripe mangoes, it is great for those watching their weight.
- It is loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C, and thus boosts our immunity and lowers our chances of catching summer infections.
- It boosts the health of the liver, increases the secretion of bile acids and cleanses the intestines.
- It helps prevent constipation.
- Just chop raw mango and have it with a pinch of salt and honey to soothe a bad tummy.
- It also helps cut acidity from the body and tame heartburn,
- It is good for the gums. It helps prevent bleeding of the gums, bad odour and tooth decay.
- Has astringent properties so helps prevent the accumulation of dirt and oil in the pores of the skin and thus helps prevent acne. Antioxidants in it also play an essential role in the synthesis of collagen and dealing signs of ageing.
How to eat: Just chew a raw piece everyday, or make a chutney, and don’t forget to down. Glass of aam panda everyday too.
Green or Raw Banana
Excellent at promoting digestion, preventing constipation, it also functions as a natural mood enhancer.
It has loads of immunity boosting vitamin C and vitamin A, loads of potassium (great to boost our electrolytes and keep the blood pressure down) and vitamin B6 (which is essential for heart’s health).
Is a Banana Worth the Calories?
Also delivers RS (Resistant Starch), the third, lesser known type of fibre that our food provides. RS functions like soluble, fermentable fibre, which reaches the intestines and helps boost the good bacteria.
So, basically it works like a superfood for our digestive system. Plus, foods rich in RS can also help us stay lean and healthy as it delivers satiety, thus help reduce food intake and fat accumulation. Some studies even show that they deliver improved insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar level.
How to eat: You cannot eat them raw like you would a sweet banana. You will need to cook them before eating them.
Don’t fry them like your grandma probably did, just brush with some oil and bake. Then have with homemade very spicy tomato sauce. You can even make Kalan, the traditional Kerala dish with coconut and yoghurt.
Green or Raw Papaya
Raw papaya retains all its natural enzymes and has a lot more active enzymes than its ripe version. Chymopapain and papain in particular help breakdown protein fats and carbohydrates efficiently in the body. It also helps keep up digestion and metabolism.
It has exceptional amounts of more bio available carotenoids, in fact, more than carrots and tomatoes. Carotenoids are great for our eye health, skin health and for boosting our immunity.
It’s anti-inflammatory so helps keep arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory issues at bay.
It helps reduce blood glucose levels by aiding in the regeneration of beta cells and increasing insulin synthesis. So, it’s great for diabetics.
How to eat: Make a salad or juice it. Blend raw papaya and cucumber in a high speed blender, and add a dash of lemon. Or make a subzi.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, whole red chilies, few curry leaves, turmeric, chilli powder, grated papaya, and salt to taste. Stir-fry and add lemon juice and garnish with coriander, grated coconut and roasted peanuts.
(The author is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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