Superfoods in Indian Diet; right from your kitchen
Affordable superfoods in our daily diet
One of the best things about living in India is its food and the culinary heritage that we experience in every meal that we consume. No wonder; back in medieval times, India was the world’s most sought-after country due to its treasure of spices, hidden from the rest of the world. To the present day, the culinary diversity that we find in India cannot be found anywhere else in the world. However, despite having a plethora of food options that are readily and easily available, we often find ourselves purchasing inexpensive, imported alternatives.
There is a long list of food items that are so affordable that they can be found in every Indian household, yet they are inexpensive and often a luxury overseas, such as in the US. The list includes spices such as turmeric, cardamom, and ashwagandha (15x more expensive), grains such as millets and black gram (10x more expensive), and fruits and vegetables such as guava and jackfruit (20x more expensive). Without waiting any further, let’s learn about the Desi superfoods that you can add to your diet based on their affordability and availability.
Everyday Nutritional Powerhouses: Here, we will talk about the superfoods that are not only affordable but also readily available in our households.
- Dal (lentils): Packed with some protein, fiber, and many essential minerals, dal is indeed a staple for a reason. You can explore diverse varieties like moong, masoor, tur, urad, and more for different nutritional benefits.
- Leafy Greens: Do not try to underestimate the power of palak (spinach), methi (fenugreek), and sarson (mustard greens). Not only are these loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they also boost your immunity in the chilling winter season.
- Seasonal Fruits: Embrace the abundance of papaya, bananas, guavas, and oranges to fuel your body with vitamins and natural sugars.
- Spices: We might know them as spices that add flavor to our meals; spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers are more than just flavor enhancers. They are anti-inflammatory powerhouses with many health benefits, such as regulating blood pressure and playing a major role in the prevention and treatment of various cancer types.
- Yogurt: It is a natural source of probiotics for gut health, calcium for strong bones, and protein for muscle development. It can be consumed plain, flavored, or even with fruits.
Nourishing Yet Special: This category will include superfoods that are not as easily found in households like the ones mentioned above, yet they are hidden gems that carry more nutrients than you can take.
Millets: Ragi (finger millet), bajra (pearl millet), and jowar (sorghum) are some of the gluten-free grains that are rich in protein, fiber, and certain micronutrients. They’re most commonly used in rotis, dosas, or porridge.
Nuts & Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, essential minerals, and protein. You can soak them in water overnight before consuming them or directly sprinkle the seeds on your salads, yogurt, or porridge.
Amla (Indian Gooseberry): One of our top favorite superfoods, amla is a vitamin C powerhouse that boosts immunity, aids in digestion, and comes with anti-inflammatory properties. You can enjoy it raw, pickled, or in the form of juice.
Coconut: Another superfood like the Indian gooseberry, coconut water is the hub of electrolytes, while its flesh has healthy fats and fiber. While it grows in the south, coconut can be found easily in the northern regions of India. Although it is mostly consumed raw, coconut’s nectar and flesh also make it a key ingredient in various South Indian dishes.
Jackfruit: This versatile vegetable can be enjoyed unripe or ripe. Ripe jackfruit offers antioxidants and vitamins, while unripe jackfruit provides a meaty texture in vegetarian dishes.
Exquisite and Rare Nutritional Delights: Last but not least, this category will take you through some of the rare, expensive superfoods that are worth every penny that you spend on them.
Saffron: Found in the northernmost region of India, i.e., Kashmir, saffron adds a luxurious touch to many dishes and drinks while boasting anti-inflammatory and mood-boosting properties. Due to its scarcity, saffron is one of the most duplicated superfoods. Purchase saffron only from a reliable dealer.
Black Rice: A nutty-flavored rice rich in antioxidants and fiber and known for its longevity-promoting properties.
Ashwagandha: This powerful herb is an adaptogen that helps the body manage stress and improve stamina.
In the big picture, embracing India's diverse superfoods offers a treasure trove of health benefits while remaining kind to your wallet. From readily available lentils and greens to hidden gems like millets and amla, these culinary powerhouses pack a punch of nutrients without the hefty price tag of imported trends. So, explore the vibrant flavors of India, nourish your body with local abundance, and discover that superfoods don't have to be exotic or expensive.