To diet or not to diet - that is the question. As the year begins and our minds begin to wander away from our New Year Resolutions, we look for easy and healthy alternatives that we can sustain rather than fad diets which we can barely attempt to. In the quest for such options we started to explore the superfoods of 2020, or the foods which are nutritionally rich and work miracles for the body. Though there is no specific qualifying criteria about what constitutes a superfood; the main reason why superfoods are recommended is that their health benefits exceed beyond just one or two.
What exactly is a superfood? Dr. Anju Sood, a Bangalore-based nutritionist, says, "Superfoods provide us a nutrient which is generally lacking in your diet - they could be rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, contain omega 3 fatty acids and helpful in burning fat. They are basically foods that are catering to ex-metabolic syndrome problems such as lifestyle problems."
As we spoke to nutritionists and other experts, it turned out that most of the superfoods that we can expect to trend in the year 2020 have been around forever. It's only recently that their nutritional value has begun to be appreciated. Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, believes that the trend had begun last year and will continue well into 2020. "The importance is of going local and returning to regional foods and cuisines. It is all about rediscovering your roots this year. For example, instead of broccoli, why not have the simple cauliflower?" advises Dr. Datta.
Here Are 5 Superfoods That Experts Recommend For The Year 2020:
1. Leafy Greens
Having local produce and hyperlocally sourced vegetables is something that cannot be emphasised enough in 2020. For instance, spinach is a leafy green that is packed with vitamins and minerals and contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant flavanoids too. Spinach is great for maintaining overall bone and heart health. Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora ND suggests, "All the green leafy Saags cooked in ghee and a dollop of white butter loaded with vitamin K can be great for assimilation of vitamin D in the body."
(Also Read: 8 Lesser Known Greens We Should All Be Eating)
2. Local Fruits
Dr. Rupali Datta emphasizes the need for inclusion of locally grown fruits in the diet, as much as vegetables. Fruits are one of the most underrated superfoods that have existed in the Indian diet since times immemorial. They are now slowly making a comeback this year due to their inherent nutritive properties. For instance, Guava actually has more Vitamin C content than, say, even an orange. "Seasonal fruits such as papaya can work wonders for the diet, " says Dr. Datta.
3. Whole Grains
There is a strong trend which sees an increasing return towards whole grains such as Kuttu, Ragi and Jau, our experts say. These whole grains can be easily used to replace sooji, besan, or even oats. The reason behind this is that they are rich in micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium and calcium. These are nutrients that the Indian diet traditionally does not have enough of, but can work miracles for overall health. Grains such as Rajgiri, aka Amaranth, as recommended by our nutritionists are also wonderful for their detoxifying and cholesterol-controlling properties.
2020 is all about the seeds - basil seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds are the superfoods this season. Rather than simply having Chia or Flaxseeds, use Basil seeds," recommends Dr. Rupali Datta. These seeds can be had as a snack or included as a topping on any dish. The nutrients such as protein, fiber, iron, vitamins, and omega-3 present in all kinds of seeds promote healthy skin and hair and support cardiovascular well-being.
The importance of spices for nutritional benefits is also quite understated, as 2020 is about the return of traditional Indian spices such as cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and fennel seeds. Dr. Anju Sood says, "Cinnamon powder contains aldehyde which is a chemical compound that helps bring down blood sugar level and maintain metabolic levels." Similar benefits can be stated for fennel seeds, also known as saunf, which contain antioxidants and can also help fight pollution. Turmeric too has a number of health benefits such as being anti-inflammatory and helping in boosting immunity.
To conclude, superfoods for 2020 are all about going regional and rediscovering the roots. To quote Shilpa Arora ND, "Superfoods for 2020 have to be simple and not fashionable."
About Aditi AhujaAditi loves talking to and meeting like-minded foodies (especially the kind who like veg momos). Plus points if you get her bad jokes and sitcom references, or if you recommend a new place to eat at.