So what are Super Foods. One hears this term all the time. Why Super ? Does it give you Super Man powers ? Well, you could say that. Simply put, these Foods have a tremendous amount of vitamins and minerals which are essential for health, vitality, immunity, energy. And they are easy to consume everyday. The dictionary defines Super Food as a nutrient-rich food considered to be specially beneficial for health and well-being. There is no scientific definition of Super Foods. And any food that is high on nutrients can be thus classified viz salmon, broccoli , blueberries etc.
Let me start by listing the “Super Foods” that I eat everyday. I would like to add here that I have been eating these , even when these terms were not coined. I had the benefit of being in a home where Ayurveda, natural remedies were followed. All articles in a newspaper pertaining to ‘properties of food – fruits and vegetables, spices etc ’ were cut and discussed. We were quizzed on properties of apples, bananas, beetroot, brinjals, moringa, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon , tea, etc. You will find combinations of various ground spices in our home – and each one is there due to its multiple properties. And this is used not only to eat. Once I had injured myself in an accident – pastes were made of turmeric and sandalwood and applied on my wounds. I wear contact lenses and used to constantly suffer from eye infections. Fed up of eye drops, I was given “phitkari” mixed with water. Post my pneumonia, I had lost half my hair. A hair oil was made with natural ingredients, amla was given to me every day along with a vegetable juice – mixture of all vegetables including beetroot. I can go on and on.
For the benefit of the readers I will list the ones I consume daily/frequently, which I find have helped me, and how I have made it part of my regular routine. I would like to emphasise here that these are NOT medicines and even though some have medicinal properties, please go visit a doctor when you are suffering from any ailment.
1) Ginger – The health benefits of ginger are well documented . Amongst its key properties are it helps lower cholesterol, and fight fungal infections. I drink ginger tea every morning. It’s called “ adhrak chai” in India.
2) Turmeric – The new fad these days – turmeric latte. Turmeric has innumerable medicinal properties and health benefits including fighting inflammation, protecting the heart, fighting diabetes and cancer, is an antioxidant too. In India we put turmeric in all our food. I actually put a pinch of it in my ginger tea every morning.
I recently learned that turmeric consumed without ginger does not provide any benefits. It’s properties get enhanced if consumed with ginger.
3) Black Pepper – Again has multiple benefits including improving digestion, providing relief in respiratory problems, anti oxidant, anti bacterial etc. I use black pepper in my meals – over salads, soups, vegetables.
4) Cinnamon – Amongst its chief benefits are helps lower cancer risk and protects brain function, also is. A high source of antioxidants and has anti inflammatory properties.
Have recently started having a cup of hot water with the above 4 mixed as a powder. I have this in the morning before my tea.
5) Almonds – They have extensive health benefits including for heart, brain. Almond Milk has become a rage in the West. Since I was a child we have been given almonds daily – soaked overnight in water. I have them with my cereal every morning.
6) Walnuts – My grandmother used to say they are in the shape of brain and are excellent for the same. She used to give it to us during our examinations and say it will help keep our minds sharp. I have them daily now with my breakfast cereal.
7) Chia Seeds – I was introduced to this 2 years back when I had visited Peru. Chia means strength, and Peruvian folklore says that these black and white seeds were used as an energy booster. These seeds contain omega -3 , carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants and calcium.
I have it daily sprinkled over my breakfast cereal.
8) Flax Seeds – In 2007 I was introduced to these seeds as there was an illness in the family and the doctor talked about how consumption of these seeds can help reduce cancer, lower cholesterol and help develop immunity. I used to take a spoon of flax seed oil with curd. Now I have it daily sprinkled over my cereal.
9) Sunflower Seeds – Rich in magnesium, vitamin E and B1, known as the healthy heart seed. I have it sprinkled over my cereal every day.
10) Pumpkin Seeds – Has a large variety of nutrients viz magnesium, protein, zinc. These seeds are also called ‘ nutritional powerhouses’. I have it daily with my cereal.
11) Goji Berries – Is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory super fruit that boosts immunity system and helps fight cancer, among other properties. I have a powder of this which I consume daily with my cereal.
As you can see , my breakfast is packed with ” super foods” – easy to eat and most delicious too.
12) Honey – Is a natural energy resource and helps counter lots of ailments. Daily I put honey on my toast with tea, and also on my breakfast cereal which is filled with all seeds and had with milk.
13) Fenugreek Seeds – It not only improves digestion levels but lowers cholesterol too. We soak these seeds and get them to sprout. Consume a spoon daily before morning tea.
14) Wheat Grass – Had discussed this in my previous blog. Drink a glass of the juice every day.
15) Green Tea – I drink 4-5 cups daily, and especially after my lunch and dinner.
16) Lemongrass – It is beneficial for high blood pressure, kills germs and is a mild astringent. I consume it along with green tea.
17) Quinoa – Was introduced to this incredible grain in Peru three years back. It is one of the highest protein rich food and has more fibre than any other grain. We eat this 3 – 4 times a week at home as a meal, mixed with Vegetables.
18) Avocados – They are a good source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals viz calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. We make guacamole and eat it 4-5 times a week with dinner.
19) Amla – The Indian Gooseberry is a super fruit. It slows down ageing, fights against heart disease, helps increase metabolism. I have Amla juice 3-4 times a week.
20) Dates – Is also a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber anda contains minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. They also contain vitamins such as vitamin A, and vitamin K. We eat dates post our dinner as dessert.
Other super foods that we consume and like are ( these are not taken daily or weekly) are Moringa , Acai Berries, Aloe Vera.
Very essential to make these foods as part of your regular diet. And you can see how simple it actually is to do.
Next up is Mantra 4 ! Stay tuned.