Indian Superfoods You Must Include In Your Diet For Better Health

Oct 4, 2021, 15:59 IST

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The food that we eat has a purpose whether it is to give energy, bodybuilding, to help with weight loss, weight gain, to help control certain medical conditions, etc. It helps to nourish our bodies and thereby helps with an overall better output and performance. There is no single food that can nourish you completely; you need to eat different food that has different nutritional value to ensure your health is taken care of. It needs to encompass all your nutritional needs in one fell swoop, but “superfoods” come quite close to doing just that, says Nina Maria Saldanha, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru. She gives insight into various Indian superfoods and how to include them in your diet.


What Is A Super Food?

Superfoods are the new “it” thing that everyone is talking about. Though the term may be new and improved these are foods that have been around for centuries and are often found in all our kitchens.  The term ‘super food’ is generally used to refer to foods that offer you the maximum benefits with minimal calories. Quite a few of these superfoods are those that are had on an almost daily basis, and no Indian dish is complete without. Here are some commonly found Indian superfoods


Indian Superfoods Diet Amaranth

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Amaranth Seeds

Amaranth seeds are a pseudo-cereal that is gluten-free, rich in fibre and has a significant quantity of protein in it. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties; which makes it beneficial in reducing blood pressure levels, promoting smooth digestion, reducing inflammation, etc.

Preparations: Ladoos (with puffed rice and jaggery); boiled (as a substitute to rice); the flour can be used to make chapatis/chillas; Raab (a broth of amaranth flour, ghee, jaggery, and dry ginger powder), etc.

Indian Superfoods Diet Drumsticks

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Drumstick Leaves
These are small oval-shaped leaves that are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, especially the b-complex vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, etc.

Preparations: Sabjis and curries (either plain or in combination with other vegetables); added to dal or sambhar; made into a powder, and added to any juice; added to batters, and doughs of foods like chapatis, dosas/chillas etc.

Indian Superfoods Diet Amla

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Amla or the Indian gooseberry is a rich storehouse of vitamin C (100g of amla has the vitamin C content of 20 oranges). These are small green and greenish-yellow berries that have been around for 100s of years. As a rich source of vitamin C, when consumed with anything that is rich in iron, it aids in the absorption of iron by the body. Apart from being rich in vitamin C, they are also a good source of fibre and have been linked to better diabetes control, better digestion, healthier skin, hair, eyes, etc.

Preparations: It can be consumed as juice, jams, pickles, chutneys, etc.

Indian Superfoods Diet Jamun

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Jamun or Java Plum is an oval-shaped fruit that has a rich purple/indigo coloured exterior, and a white interior. This is a fruit from a tree that is indigenous to India. Its taste ranges from mildly sweet to tart (a spicy sub-acidic flavour).  

Preparations: Most often Jamuns are used in the preparation of desserts, jams, juices, etc. They are also consumed plain or with salt; they can even be made into wine and vinegar. The seeds of the jamun can be dried and made into a powder that can be added to different flours and consumed which has benefits in diabetes control.

Indian Superfoods Diet Spirulina

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This is a blue-green alga that is found in water (both fresh and salty). It is widely known for its anti-oxidant properties, it is also very rich in DHA.

Preparations: Spirulina is available commercially as a powder, capsule/tablet. This can be consumed as such, or added to juices, made into ladoos, chikkis, etc.


Indian Superfoods Diet BananaLeaves

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Banana flowers
Banana heart, banana blossom, etc. are all terms that are used to refer to the flowers of the baba plant. These flowers are found at the end of the bunch of bananas. The banana flower is rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc. it has a role as a galactagogue (enhancing breast milk production), maintaining blood sugar, easing menstrual discomforts, etc.

Preparations: Banana flower is most commonly prepared as a sabji, curry, chutney, and even chips or bhajjis.


Indian Superfoods Diet Turmeric

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Dried turmeric is a common Indian spice that is very widely used for its aromatic, flavouring, medicinal and antiseptic properties. Turmeric can be consumed in the dried and powdered form, are even in the fresh root form, the leaves of the turmeric plant are also edible. Curcumin is the active ingredient present in turmeric, which helps give us all the above-mentioned benefits.

Preparations: Dried turmeric is mainly used as a spice, however, fresh turmeric can be used to make sabzis, chutneys, etc. The leaves of the turmeric plant are also used for the purpose of steaming, and are even chopped into small pieces and added to curries and sabjis for flavouring.

Indian Superfoods Diet beetroot

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Beetroots are one of those vegetables, wherein the whole plant can be consumed- i.e. both the leaves and the root can be consumed. Beetroots are rich in folic acid, potassium, fibre, oxalates, etc. it is known to reduce inflammation, and have strong antioxidant properties.

Preparations: Beetroots can be consumed as juice, salad, sabjis/curries soups, etc. and the same goes for the leaves as well; beetroots can also be converted into desserts and consumed, or even made into chutneys, pickles, etc.

Indian Superfoods Diet buttermilk

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Buttermilk, like its counterparts, curd, yoghurt, and lassi is a rich source of probiotics, and can and should be consumed on a regular basis. Buttermilk is a well-known remedy for gastritis and acidity, especially when coupled with mint and coriander seeds.
Preparations: It can be consumed as a drink (plain) and is also a constituent of several other dishes as well.

Also Read: Boost Your Metabolism With Superfoods