From Amla to Turmeric: Seven Indian Superfoods To Keep You Healthy
The dual problem facing us today is the co existence of obesity along with malnutrition. Yes they can both afflict us together. Meaning an overweight (or even a optimum weight person) can be severely malnourished and suffering from acute mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
Experts, and now increasingly the governments too seem to be recognising this paradox worldwide, and thankfully there’s awareness of this in our country too. In fact, recently to combat this issue, the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) unveiled plans to lower malnutrition in the country by promoting the use of traditional plant-based superfoods.
About time everyone was made aware of these easily available foods - so that deficiency can become a thing of the past.
Here’s a primer on the plants and herbs that have made it to this superfoods list and what they deliver:
1. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
The Nutrition Punch: Amla is 80% water and delivers minerals: calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and iron, and vitamins: carotene, B vitamins (thiamine(b1) riboflavin (b2) Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Folate) vitamin C and vitamin E, besides multiple antioxidants.
2. Sonth (Dry Ginger Powder)
The Nutrition Punch: Ground form of dried ginger roots, this traditional spice is eaten more in winters (as it is warming). It is not just a taste enhancer, rather it contains essential oils and is a fair sources of vitamins like beta carotene, vitamin C, B and minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper.
3. Kachchi Haldi (Fresh Turmeric)
The Nutrition Punch: delivers pyridoxine (vitamin B6), choline, niacin, and riboflavin, vitamin C, and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Also has multiple essential oils such as turmerone and zingiberene and a star component curcumin that supports better memory, focus and cognition and fights degenerative processes in the brain.
4. Giloy (Heart-Leaved Moonseed)
The Nutrition Punch: This lesser known medicinal herb delivers calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc and manganese and is loaded with antioxidants. It is a known immunity booster and sugar levels stabliser.
5. Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng)
The Nutrition Punch: Ashwagandha contains multiple natural antioxidants and flavonoids and that is why it has been used to treat inflammation, and as protection against infection and illness. It boosts the immune system, improves memory and promotes overall wellness. It has some iron, calcium, carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C.
6. Moringa (Drumstick Leaves Powder)
The Nutrition Punch: Moringa is a rich source of 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 delivers all eight essential amino acids our body needs and is actually one of very few plant foods that delivers quality protein.
7. Lehsun (Garlic)
The Nutrition Punch: The sulfur compounds in garlic serve as its spotlight nutrients and bestow it mustiple benefits. In addition, garlic is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6; a very good source of vitamin C and copper; and a good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium.
(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) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)