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July 02, 2016
Put simply, a superfood is essentially a food item that is bursting at the seams with antioxidants and vital vitamins that boost health and longevity. We no longer have to send relatives to Costco and Sainsbury’s to buy overpriced cartons of Chia, Quinoa, Spelt Flour and other superfoods. India, too, has a host of different foods (available locally) that provide your body with immune boosting antioxidants, fight free radical damage and halt chronic disease in its tracks.
Here are a few of my recommendations:
Bael or Wood Apple
Native to South East Asia, this fleshy fruit is very high in antioxidants and helpful in disorders of the gut and in the treatment of digestive issues. It has anti viral, anti bacterial properties that make it an effective tool at fighting infections and inflammation. Its anti-spasmodic properties promote healing and recovery of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Usually prepared as a relish, chutney or pickle; the Bael fruit is very rich so should be eaten as is to avoid unnecessary consumption of added sugars.
America tried to patent ‘curcumin’- the active compound in turmeric or haldi that is used to treat cancers, inhibit tumour growth, boost the immune system and promote joint healing and recovery post injury. This brilliant yellow coloured rhizome, belonging to the ginger family is very versatile and can be powdered and added to soups and curries or chopped up and added to a tonic or a juice. Whenever possible, try using raw, organic haldi and make sure to incorporate it into a recipe with black pepper for better assimilation. You can have it everyday in the winter when you feel the onset of a cold or a flu coming on.
DIY Immune Boosting Turmeric Tonic
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Honey to taste
2-3 crushed black peppercorns
The juice from 1 inch of raw turmeric
Tulsi or holy basil is an adaptogenic herb that reduces your body’s stress response and helps fight against free radicals. Used extensively in ayurvedic medication, it is very effective at calming the nerves and promoting relaxation. It can be used as a home remedy to treat colds, coughs, congestion and respiratory disorders. These tiny but mighty leaves have anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties that help fight bugs, infections and kick inflammation to the curb. When consumed as a tea or tonic, it supports immune system function. It can be brewed as a hot tea, served as iced tea or mixed into your morning smoothie.
DIY- Tulsi Tea
5-6 tulsi leaves
1 cup of hot water
A tiny bit of ginger juice
Juice of half a lemon
Millets are a gluten free alternative for coeliacs and those intolerant to wheat. Regarded as one of the healthiest foods in the world, millets are known for their cardio-protective properties. When eaten regularly, they can help reduce your risk for heart attacks, lower serum cholesterol levels and fight against oxidative stress. Studies suggest that a low GI (glycemic index), high fiber diet can help prevent certain cancers of the breast and the colon. This high fiber grain can be prepared into rotis or a cereal or added to muffins and baked treats for optimal assimilation. Sorghum and Ragi/Nachni are millets that are easily available and can be consumed on a regular basis.
This naturally gluten free food is actually not a grain but a fruit. Also called kuttu and used extensively during fasting, buckwheat has a host of nutritional benefits. This high fiber food is cardio-protective and can lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels. A rich source of magnesium, regular consumption of buckwheat helps lower your body’s stress response and promotes restful sleep. It can be eaten as pancakes or cereals for breakfast or ground into flour to make rotis or chapatis. It has lower carbohydrate than most other cereal alternatives making it a good choice for diabetics as well as weight watchers.
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