During this ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus disease, everybody is skeptical about how to maintain their health in order to not contract it. Boosting your immunity should be a priority for everybody who is yet untouched by this disease. We all know about the benefits of avocado, tofu, chia seeds, etc. But what about finding these products from your local markets, especially in the times of lockdown? And are they even affordable for the general public? Definitely not! Affordability in times like now is an essential factor to remember while contemplating to buy any food because the kind of economic condition which this pandemic has rendered the world in, has made it difficult for any and everyone to spend on lavish foods.
So then what are the options for the common people to acquire such superfoods which are not only immunity boosters, but also cheap and readily available locally which can be included in our diet, that too on a daily basis? Let us today explore the cheap Indian superfoods which we hardly ever pay attention to, but have proved to give enormous benefits when desiring an immunity boost. Read till the end to explore what possible preparation can be made with each.
1) Desi Ghee
No Indian household is complete without a jar of desi ghee. Oh that luscious, gooey golden liquid is to die for! But wait a minute, isn’t it all fat! How will that help us to boost immunity? Let me explain. This quintessential ingredient from Indian kitchens, without which our cuisine remains lifeless, contains butyric acid which is an essential fatty acid. It’s presence along with Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids lower the secretions of leukotrienes and prostaglandins, which cause pain and inflammation in the body. In addition, it is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A, D, E, and K which consolidate our overall health. All of this can kick the corona off your system if your swear your allegiance to include balanced quantity of ghee in your routine diet.
This spice is normally available in every South Asian household and is used in a variety of dishes we normally prepare to add that sunny yellow colour to beautify our meals. But how will the spice add to our immunity? Basically, it contains about 3-5 % of curcumin as its base ingredient which is a phyto-derivative containing healing properties. It aids in cleansing our respiratory tract of harmful secretions and provide anti-bacterial cum anti-viral properties by fighting infection and inflammation. Having some warm turmeric milk laden with a dash of honey daily will definitely help you stay away from Coronavirus longer.
Amla is also called Indian Gooseberry and is known to be the richest source of vitamin C. As per several studies that we all have been reading so far everywhere, Coronavirus can be defeated by regular intake of vitamin C laden foods. Vitamin C in any form is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and promotes wound healing along with skin, hair, and nail growth. So what better food to acquire it other than Amla? It is cheap, readily available in marketplaces, and taste so good when drizzled with a little bit of sugar and lime. You can even have naturally prepared Amla juices to yield similar results. Isn’t your mouth watering already?
Popularly know as ‘kopra’ in Hindi, the benefits of not only this fruit but the entire tree are incomparable. Thus, the coconut tree is lovingly called as ‘Kalpavruksh’ which means ‘the wish-fulfilling tree’. Coconut per se can be utilized in our diets in a variety of ways. Be it the coconut oil or the fruit itself grated in curries or chutneys or even if had as is, it serves as a delicious add on to every food prepared. But did you know that coconut has excellent antiviral properties? It creates an inconducive environment for the growth of viruses and even some bacteria. Simultaneously, it also increases the white blood cell counts to fight the infection even better. A dollop of coconut cream or oil to your smoothies, pancake batter, cereals, or even to your favorite morning coffee will give your immune system the desired push for the day! Not to mention that it is vegan friendly and a great non-dairy substitute for curries and stir-frying any boring vegetable you have.
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Which is that fruit which not only tastes amazing but is packed with many minerals and nutrients? That’s right, it’s the jackfruit! Full of dietary fibre, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium and copper, and phytonutrients, it can fill you with energy just like that! Look no further if you plan to make a scrumptious yet power-packed morning smoothie! Couple it with a few fresh herbs or just simple milk and see the magic!
All the edible seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, black seeds (kalonji), etc have significant power to jump start your immunity instantaneously. These seeds have variable amounts of iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin E, etc. in them which can inevitably fight free radicals, thereby preventing damage to skin and mucus membranes brought on by COVID-19. Black seeds particularly have a special place in theology for its power to fight every disease except death. Even their oils can provide a good boost if used in the preparation of certain daily recipes.
7) Garlic and Ginger
A sizable number of South Asian households will house these and use it to make several yummy dishes. Hardly any curry is complete without the traditional addition of the ginger-garlic paste. Almost every aromatic ‘tadka’ in our favourite ‘daal’ (yellow lentil soups) or ‘kadhi’ (curd based gram flour soup) is incomplete without them. Essentially, what makes them so special in Indian or even Oriental cuisine is not just their aroma factor, but also their great immune boosting properties. High in antioxidant content, both ginger and garlic have potential antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory compounds in them. These have been shown to boost the disease warding response of some kinds of white blood corpuscles in the body when they encounter flu causing viruses like Coronaviruses. Having them raw, or in your daily curries, chutneys or juices can all work equally well to gain these benefits.
Curd or yogurt is a popular Indian food that couples great taste and natural immunity promoting potential when perfectly fermented. So many recipe options are available by which this superfood can be utilized. Be it the favourite summer drink i.e. buttermilk (both sweet and salty variants) or the daily chutneys, curries, soups, smoothies, etc., there are so many choices in which yogurt can be effectively utilized, and yet we cannot encompass its scrumptious probiotic properties!
9) Ragi and Jau
Ragi is nothing but finger millet, and Jau is simply barley. Both these are packed with dietary fiber with several other supplemental nutrients in each. For example, barley is filled with protein, calcium, and vitamin E. Ragi is rich in vitamin D and iron. In times of this pandemic, easily available, cheap, and nutritious foods like these are a total catch and will help us to fight off the infection in full swing. Adding their flour to your daily portion of ‘chapatis’ can not only make it an organic multi-grain bread but give you the wholesome goodness of these grains.
Last but never the least, it’s our very own favourite sugar substitute, honey. Now you may think how is this an affordable superfood choice? No one said you have to buy the ones manufactured by big brands. You have to understand that honey made organically from the nectar of your local flowers and trees is much more beneficial than the synthetically produced variety. The local bee-keepers may sell it for even lesser prices than the store-bought honey. Since times immemorial, honey has known to cure several diseases owing to its antimicrobial compounds and good quality antioxidants in it. Due to this reason, it has been frequently used as the natural medicinal sweetener in variegated Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. In times like today, it is one of the best and healthy proxies for sugar. Add it to your morning green teas, or summery fruity sorbets, or just about any dessert to make it sweet to enjoy guilt-free entremets. Talk about fighting a sweet battle with Coronavirus!
Did you realize how many great local foods can give us the real deal-breaker of an immunity, without having to search too far and wide, or without mulling over the ever shrinking pockets in this lockdown phase? Coronavirus has brought on such an era globally where awareness about such daily health basics is crucial to our existence. Undoubtedly, the above superfoods have taken the world by storm owing to their affordability quotient, and the offering of a total package of nutrients and vitamins which not only benefit the disease fighting mechanisms of the body when included in your diet daily, but can also help you to stay healthy and energetic in the long run.
This article is written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
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