In an effort to achieve health and fitness goals, many people look for a "magic pill" to add a life-changing element to their fitness journey. However, the real solution lies in simple habits and sustainable meal plans that support our environment. Luckily, a typical Indian kitchen is loaded with remedies and techniques that can provide you with health and longevity. However, if you are too busy looking in the wrong direction, here's a list of swaps you can begin with to add some Desi goodness to your diet.
Here Are 5 Desi Superfoods You Can Swap In Your Diet:
1. Coconut for Avocado
Rich in medium-chain triglycerides, fibre, and lauric acid coconut makes for a perfect superfood to rev up your metabolism. Just like its exotic healthy fat competitor: avocado, coconut also contains potassium, magnesium for your supporting heart health and is loaded with zinc and iron that can give you luscious hair. Lauric acid present in coconut has anti-viral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that support your immunity especially during the season change. The fatty acid composition in coconut also helps in boosting good cholesterol. If you're struggling with weak digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, add this healthy fat to your morning routine for better gut health.
2. Amaranth for Quinoa
Popularly known as Ramdana or Rajgira in India, amaranth a pseudo-cereal is one of the most nutritious grains on the planet. Like quinoa, it is a good source of protein but without leaving a hole in your wallet. It is also a rich source of iron for vegans and vegetarians and is loaded with magnesium that helps in increasing your energy levels and fighting fatigue. The mix of nutrients present in amaranth also makes it a perfect dinner option for weight watchers. It is gluten-free and rich in antioxidants which help in reducing inflammation in the body.
3. Sabja for Chia Seeds
A nutrient powerhouse for vegans, sabja seeds are also commonly known as sweet basil seeds. In summers, soaked sabja in its gelatinous form is commonly used in drinks for its cooling effects. As a rich source of fibre, sabja helps in regulating blood sugar levels and promotes fullness and satiety. The pectin present in soaked sabja acts as a prebiotic, that aids in supporting good bacteria in the gut. Studies also suggest that patients who consumed 30g sabja a day had cholesterol-lowering effect in 4 weeks. It is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) which helps in fighting inflammation in our body. When compared to chia seeds, it is a higher amount of fibre, calcium, iron and magnesium.
4. Kanji for Kombucha
Kanji is made with the red richness of carrots, including the purplish tinge of kali gajar or beetroot and a kick of mustard seeds that initiate the pickling and fermentation by naturally occurring bacteria and yeast found in carrot skin that turn natural sugars in carrots into a traditional fermented and tarty probiotic super drink. If you are wondering what probiotics really mean, they are live bacteria that are consumed through fermented foods and come with numerous health benefits. In recent years, you may have spotted Kombucha under the same probiotic label but unlike Kanji, it often comes loaded with sugar. Kanji has been consumed traditionally in India to aid digestion, and it is packed with a variety of nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, and B vitamins for fortification.
5. Moringa for Kale
The West is waking up to moringa or drumstick leaves now, but we've had them in our backyard for years! The drumstick plant is completely edible - the seeds, flowers, leaves and stems. The fruit is common in sambar, but the leaves are a nutrition power player. They contain iron, copper, selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Omega-3s, all of which help boost immunity. It also contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds, and antioxidant compounds, and is a complete source of protein with all nine essential amino acids present. And above all, moringa has almost twice the protein, and 3 times the iron, as compared to kale.
About Author: Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist and author based in Delhi.
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