You may have heard the term “Superfood” in your life, But what does it actually mean? According to MedicineNet, Superfood is a term referred to “foods that can have health-promoting properties such as reducing one’s risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health “
Basically, a food that is not only nutritionally dense but it also has numerous other properties that can add to improving a person’s health aspect or can aid in certain diseases.
I am not talking about Avocado, Quinoa, Kale, or any other such food which is not widely available everywhere in the world.
Today I am talking about simple inexpensive traditional Indian superfoods that are not only accessible everywhere but have tremendous health benefits and has been used for centuries in India.
So let’s get started
1. Garam Masala
Garam masala translates into “Hot spices” This combination of spices is often used in cooking a variety of dishes in India. It is also available in a powdered form which is already crushed and mixed together.
It most commonly consists of the following
- Black pepper – Its rich in potassium which aids in keep your blood pressure in check. It can also serve as detox, cleaning out your intestines when taken on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Cardamom – Aids in improving liver health. Also prevents DNA damage caused by cancer cells.
- Cinnamon – Great source of antioxidants and polyphenols, protecting against free radicals in the environment.
- Cloves – also high in antioxidant contents. It also has antimicrobial properties protecting the body from bacterial infection.
- Coriander – Aids in lowering blood sugar in type 2 diabetics by assisting enzymes that are needed to monitor our blood sugar.
- Cumin – Improves gastrointestinal health and the overall digestion of the food consumed.
- Nutmeg – has anti-inflammatory properties helping reduce inflammation in arthritis and other inflammations like diabetes and atherosclerosis.
But the question remains, what makes it a superfood?
Garam masala can be used in numerous dishes and when consumed together can maximize the health benefits such as.
- Improved digestion
- Improved Hearth health
- Keeping bad cholesterol in check
- Improves overall immunity
- Skin protection
- Reduces inflammation
There you have it. When you combine all the above-mentioned spices you get your garam masala.
Although keep in mind, these spices are absolutely beneficial for our health but it’s all about balance, you must also take care of other aspects of your life like eating well, staying active, and getting quality sleep.
2. Brown rice
Brown rice is another traditional Indian food used more commonly in the southern part of India. It’s basically unrefined rice without any excessive polishing or refined like white rice.
Hence it retains all of its original nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Brown rice is rich in the following nutrients.
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
Since brown rice maintains is bran and germ, it allows it to maintain its fiber as compared to white rice, which loses most of its nutrients after processing.
One cup of brown rice also contains 5 grams of protein, making it a good source of protein for bodybuilders.
Studies show that Brown rice is also a good choice for diabetics. yes, it’s rich in carbohydrate but its also rich in fiber, which doesn’t invoke a spike in blood sugar as white rice does and facilitates a slow release of glucose in the bloodstream and provides a feeling of fullness by reducing the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
3. Pulses and legumes
Also, known as Dal, is commonly used in India as a topping over brown rice making it a perfect combination of carbs and protein.
Legumes and a rich source of fiber and protein, one serving of legumes consist of 7 gms of protein.
- They provide a feeling of fullness due to the high fiber content
- Promotes weight loss
- Rich source of B vitamins and minerals
- A perfect choice for diabetics and hypertension patients
Pulses can also be used in various forms like rice, soup, smoothies. Many of the vegan protein shakes use pulses to extract their nutrients into a powdered form to be consumed as a protein shake for vegans.
Ghee is basically clarified butter, which is made from simmering the fats from the milk and then is purified by extracting the water and milk solids through heating until a clear fluid is produced and is kept in a jar till it’s turned slightly solid.
Ghee has numerous benefits such as
- It rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. Our body needs these crucial vitamins to carry out various bodily functions.
- It also contains butyric acid which aids in breaking down nutrients in our intestines, without which the proper assimilation of the foods won’t be effective.
- It is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which our body cannot make on its own, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal heart health.
- Since ghee is purified of its milk solids, it makes a good choice of people with lactose intolerance as well.
- It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which aids in the healing process of chronic illnesses.
Ghee has undeniable health benefits, but you have to make sure that the ghee you are buying is coming from a grass-fed cow.
Since nowadays cows aren’t allowed to graze in many places and are instead kept inside stable and fed corns all the time.
So grass-fed ghee will be significantly nutritionally dense as compared to corn-fed cow ghee.
Last but not least Gooseberries, Also, known as amla is a rich source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. It also contains other B vitamins and minerals such as B5, B6, and copper
Vitamin C is a great natural assister of immunity. So if you have a common cold you can slice the gooseberries in small pieces and put them in a hot water bottle and sip it throughout the day, getting all the vitamin C you need.
It also contains phytonutrients such as Flavonols and Anthocyanin which are effective in fighting against carcinogenic elements and in improving memory and protective overall brain health hence making it a nutrient-dense traditional superfood.