What are superfoods?

  • Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Locally grown and consumed products
  • Rich in micronutrients and taste
  • Every part of the plant/crop can be used in a unique way
  • Eating them reduces the risk of chronic disease and ensures well being.

How did it begin?

The western countries started marketing quinoa, kale, chia seeds etc. as superfoods thats help you stay fit (read thin), healthy and youthful. And, very soon the superfood wave spread all over the world!

Basically, a generation that is eating junk food and leading a sedentary lifestyle calls healthy food, “Superfood.” But, why eat food that is not grown locally and takes months to reach you. Especially when we have our own healthy variety. :)

Indian Superfoods

1) Ghee: Once dismissed for its “fatty” nature, ghee today has acquired global superfood status. Ghee improves our metabolism, digestion, immunity, helps melt body fat and prevents certain cancers. Besides, keeping our joints lubricated. Raw ghee is much more beneficial to cooked ghee. So add some fresh ghee on your dal, rice, roti and be sure to live a nourished life!

2) Amla: Indian gooseberry has eight times more vitamin C than an orange, twice the antioxidant power of acai berry and around 17 times that of a pomegranate. Amla can help fight the common cold, burn fat, improve eyesight, build immunity, relieves constipation, cleanses your intestines and makes your skin glow. Wow! squash it, blend it, cut it, boil it or eat it raw, you will still enjoy the benefits.

3) Turmeric: From turmeric latte to Jamie Oliver’s famed turmeric chicken. Turmeric is the new rage in the western countries. “Ayurveda spoke of turmeric’s anti inflammatory and antibiotic properties centuries ago. Moreover, we have been consuming turmeric in all possible forms: raw, pickled and powdered.”

4) Basil seeds (Sabja): Basil seeds are famously known to cool our internal systems. Chia and Indian basil seeds look and act alike. Basil seeds are an easy source of vitamins, iron, helps control blood sugar levels and fight seasonal flus. They’re also really good for your gut and can relieve constipation and bloating. Use them exactly as you would chia seeds, just remember that they have to be soaked and cannot be eaten as it is.

5) Ragi:  Quinoa may be extremely popular but have you tried ragi or finger millet? This super grain contains all three parts of the kernel – bran, germ and endosperm – and is loaded with calcium and fiber. Rich in iron and vitamin D, it can regulate blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of stroke, help you lose weight and works as a natural relaxant.

The best foods are local foods – and people in the developing world give up eating the local foods because it’s less prestigious to eat them. And these local superfoods have been celebrated for their therapeutic, weight-loss and wellbeing properties, are now undervalued or simply lost. And, then the West adopts them as ‘novel foods’ for weight loss and well-being and they get a second lease of life. How ironic… We have the best, but we keep looking for second best alternates.

Iti Jain