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Five Food Heroes to Emerge in 2020: Why You Need them in Your Diet

When worries around our health took centerstage, certain foods offered better health.

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Chew On This
4 min read
Foods Heroes in 2020: When there was bad news all around, these five food offered better health.
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The year is (finally) coming to an end. This was not just any year, but a year where huge challenges tested our health and our patience. When worries around our health took centerstage, certain foods (read immunity boosting foods) played a huge part in keeping us on the right path and helped us stay both sane and safe.

I am not a huge proponent of ingredient worship, but I feel these 5 foods need to be spotlighted. They have proven to be worthy warriors and it is important to keep them as part of your diet going forward.

Turmeric

Turmeric played a crucial role in helping us stay healthy, battling inflammation, and boosting immunity.
Turmeric played a crucial role in helping us stay healthy, battling inflammation, and boosting immunity.
(Photo: iStock)

Turmeric played a crucial role in helping us stay healthy, battling inflammation, and boosting immunity.

Maximise its benefits:

Firstly, source pure turmeric, to ensure least impurities (like lead etc) and high curcumin level. Secondly, as curcumin is fat soluble (meaning you need some fat along with to effectively absorb and assimilate the bene-fits), adding it to milk helps. Thirdly, always pair it with black pepper as it contains piperine, which enhances the absorption of curcumin.

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Ashwagandha

The pandemic affected our mind as much as it affected our body. The anxiety, frustration and mood swings were debilitating for many. That is why ashwagandha, an adaptogen proved to be a big hero. This super herb helps the body adapt to stress and handle it in a healthy way, and the multiple natural antioxidants and flavonoids in it help treat inflammation, protect against infection and illness, boost the immune system and pro-mote overall wellness.

Maximise its benefits:

Have ashwagandha tea (make it by boiling the powder with water, milk and tea leaves). Or have it in churan form.

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Kalonji or Onion Seeds

Kalonji or onion seeds
Kalonji or onion seeds
(Photo: iStock)

Onion seeds (kalonji) contain an essential ingredient thymoquinone that helps to fight against the inflammation that builds up within the lungs due to pollution or infection. It is a potent mood booster too.

Maximise its benefits:

Sprinkle onion seeds liberally on dal, vegetables and even chapatti to get the benefit. Or have cold pressed kalonji oil.

Amla

Amla (gooseberry) is one of my main picks for vitamin C.
Amla (gooseberry) is one of my main picks for vitamin C.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Vitamin C has been a huge buzzword lately thanks to its proven immunity boosting properties. That is why stocking up on this vitamin became a priority to keep the virus away. Amla (Indian gooseberry), a highly underrated berry gained a lot of prominence during covid, because just one amla a day can give us our fill of daily C needs.

Maximise its benefits:

Grate the berry and add to vegetables and salads, or just chomp one every day. If you find it too sour, then boil it with a little salt and turmeric and then eat. Amla pickle and amla juice are also very popular, so is amla murabba with those who prefer it sweet.

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Moringa

Add moringa to your smoothies.
Add moringa to your smoothies.
(Photo: iStock)

Moringa is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and contains significant amounts of vitamin A, B, (folic acid, pyridoxine and riboflavin), C, and E, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and protein. It also delivers all eight essential amino acids our body needs making it one of very few plant foods that delivers complete protein.

Maximise its benefits:

Fresh moringa leaves can be cooked in the same way as spinach and other greens. Or add moringa powder to your smoothie or cereal, soups, and stews. You can simply mix it up with water and gulp it down too.

It’s important to know that no one food, no matter how much it seems to help your health, can save you if your habits are generally unhealthy.

(Kavita 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), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)

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