We are what we eat. Time and again we are exposed to the significance of a right diet in our lives and how we should add the right nutrition by consuming different foods to enjoy overall wellbeing. Old is the new ‘new’ and just as fashion trends move, we have different food trends as well, which keeps coming back from the old trunks. The food items, which were earlier considered to be unworthy, fattening or boring are picking up. The Superfoods or food packed with whooping amount of nutritional benefits, are nothing extraordinary, but something that comes from old books or teachings of our elderly, and are now being put into practice or should I say put into our mouths to give us a healthy body, slimmer waistline and a longer life.
I am reading a book from a budding writer, Ravi Mantha called the Baby Elephant Diet and it states on how we should be adding certain Superfoods and to my surprise these are similar to what my mother has been asking me to eat. Ravi mentions in his books, “..super foods are those foods that leave a tremendous positive impact on your health and well being. Most of it, they should be cheap and widely available, and should not be made in the factory.” Like I said, these Superfoods are nothing but something you will find in a nearby supermarket or a grocery store.
A government website from the United Kingdom, nhs.uk states, “Foods that have been elevated to Superfood status in recent years include those rich in antioxidants (such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, flavanoids and selenium) and omega-3 fatty acids.” These foods are packed with extra amount of HDL or super fats, which are good for heart health, reduce cholesterol levels, decrease thickness of blood & blood pressure etc.
Five Superfoods for Improved Health
A cheap yet a healthy source of nutrition, lentils and beans are our sure shot way to a healthy self. A great source of dietary fiber, energy enhancing iron, vitamins, proteins (a building block of our system), it is said that a cup of black beans can offer up to 15 grams of proteins, whereas 100 grams of yellow lentil has up to 26 grams of protein and 30 grams of dietary fiber and high amounts of iron. There are a variety of beans and lentils available and one can pick a type most suited to their body and taste. In Indian homes, lentils form a part of the staple diet and are often consumed with wheat roti (chappatis) or rice, also India is the largest producer of the beans. This is to say, that there are around 40,000 styles of beans, so please don’t give yourself the excuse ‘I don’t like beans or lentils’, this Superfood comes in many forms, sizes, shapes and color, pick the one most soothing to your taste buds.
- Nuts & Seeds
One of my favorites these days, nuts and seeds are the first thing I wake up to. Some of the nuts that are staples in my diet and should be in everyone else’s too are: Walnuts, pumpkin Seeds, sunflower seeds, goji berries, Chia seeds, almonds etc. All of them offer a host of antioxidants that are potent in killing the free radicals found in our body & they also have high amounts of high amounts of iron, rich in Vitamins A, B, C, have amino acids, proteins, controls blood sugar levels and have omega 3 packed in them. You can say I am nuts about nuts and why not! They offer relief from so many everyday disorders, along with balancing the body and keeping other harmful diseases at bay.
- Fermented Foods
The topic of why we should eat fermented food is vast and cannot be covered in a small paragraph, but to say the long story short, our gut and intestines are home to trillions of bacteria and active culture, which are responsible for digestion, the breakdown of nutrients and excretion process. To keep the gut ecosystem healthy and happy we should eat food items like yogurt, pickles, Kimichi salad, Kefir, Sauerkraut, etc. as these foods consist of good bacteria and adds to the health of our gut. A form of probiotics, it is advisable to not opt for probiotic supplements rather we must judiciously add the fermented food to our diet to enjoy healthy bowel movement, cleaner intestines, higher consumption of nutrients, enhanced immune system and for reducing of the lactose intolerant syndrome.
- Specific Fruits
Food that occur naturally is best for our body, and are bound to keep us healthy and happy. But when we talk fruits, there is a whole array available to us. If I talk about Ayurveda here, I would have to say, astringent fruits or fruits with astringent taste are the one’s that should ideally be consumed more than sweet or sour fruits. Out of all the fruits, astringent fruits, would include guava, blueberries, strawberries, okra etc. These foods contain higher amount of polyphenols, which are poisonous in nature, but just a vaccine, these poison works like healing magic for our body. Also, polyphenols busts free radicals that are known to cause autoimmune diseases & cancer etc. You could also add papaya, avocado etc. to your diet.
- Specific Vegetables
Just like fruits, there are certain vegetables that are highly beneficial to our body and fall in the category of Superfoods. Some of the foods that should be consumed to enhance our health conditions are: okra, kale, garlic, broccoli, as they are great at managing the blood sugar level of the body, offer high amounts of antioxidants, contains phytonutrients and are a powerhouse of daily required vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is known to reduce cancer, whereas okra fights diabetes and is used to treat sugar levels as per Ayurveda. Also, Okra is full of vitamins A & C along with being nice to the gut bacteria and Mantha emphasizes on how okra should be an indispensable part of our diet.
Dark chocolate and limited consumption of alcohol also befall in the list of Superfoods as they both contain health-boosting ingredients. Being healthy does not have to be boring. It is a choice and should be taken up with a smile on the face. The more we delve and evolve in the process of staying healthy, the more we will lose ourselves in the circle of good health.