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What is a Socially Conscious Business? What Does it Take to be One?

Socially Conscious Business - Nummy

When I started my healthy foods startup, Tapas Foods under the brand Nummy, I knew I needed to make money. I needed to be profitable.

That still remains the end goal. No questions about that. I didn’t start an NGO or a charitable trust.

So the destination was and is very clear – PROFITS!

But how I reach that destination was a very conscious choice I made. The journey of reaching that goal means a lot more to me.

That’s when I decided that Nummy will be a socially conscious brand and organization.

What is a Socially and Environmentally Conscious Business?

When you are aware of the impact your actions have on the society and the environment, you are a socially conscious business. It’s not a mandatory duty or responsibility you shoulder. No one is coercing you to operate this way. It is just a reflection of your values that are translating into some concrete actions. It’s beyond the mandate of law.

Let me give you some examples:

  • You start your organization in a rural area to provide employment opportunities there.
  • You source your raw materials from organic farms, and you pay fair prices to the growers.
  • You hire people (who otherwise find it challenging to find jobs) who need a platform, like transgender people, rural women, unskilled locals, physically challenged youth, retirees in need of income and the list can go on and on.
  • You choose to use biodegradable material than plastic.
  • You find ways to recycle, upcycle waste.
  • You design a marketing message that questions the outdated ways, that is progressive in content and delivery.
  • You associate with brand ambassadors who reflect your values.
  • You set sales targets that are not unrealistic and exaggerated but organic and achievable.
  • Choice in the type of rewards you give your employees which have actual use and meaning and not merely a tool for employer branding.
  • You have marketing strategies that can show that competitors can co-exist and not kill each other.

Basically, anything that can have a positive impact on the society and environment.

These are just a few examples, and you can get creative with your own list.

There is no high priest to tell you what should or should not go in your socially conscious list. These are not mandated by law either.

How much social and environmental consciousness you bring into your business is your choice. Don’t let anyone dictate this to you.

If you are up for it, let me help you with few pointers to start thinking in this direction.

How to be a Socially and Environmentally Conscious Business?

The best way to do this is to share my experience with you. I’m no goody-two-shoes and believe me, being socially conscious doesn’t give me any right to criticize or judge others. It’s a self-proclaimed title and a journey I chose.

Every business comes with its own set of challenges – financial, geographic, competition, resources, and so on.

Start thinking of few steps that I mention below only when you feel ready, when you actually want to do it, and not because it’s a fancy marketing fad.

Because if you are doing it to gain few followers on social media, it is only for a short time. You will lose more trying to put an image because it will drain you and your team. It is tough!

  • The first thing I did was make up my mind. This was easy for me because the steps I took to make my business socially conscious came from my experiences. So, I was and am prepared for slow business growth. You need to make peace with the fact that all this comes with a cost. Most often it is the time taken to reach profitability.
  • Questioning is the biggest step in the journey of being a socially conscious business and the easiest too! Question the traditional ways of doing business. No, not all ways are bad. But questioning will help you pause and think about every aspect of your business. Where do you want your business, what kind of people you want on your team, are there alternative processes, are there other suppliers….
  • Choose your battles. You cannot be conscious of every aspect of your business. You can’t lose focus from your goal of profitability. Some things can drain money and energy, something can stall your growth and bottom line, some actions may not be feasible at that point, you may not have the resources or technology. Make your choices.
  • Track progress and impact on the sustainable growth of your business. You can’t start and forget. Track and measure the impact of your actions. Are these actions making sense? Are these processes sustainable? Are these actions required after a certain period of time? Is society benefitting from it?

A lot of the founder or leadership team’s personality reflects in the way a business operates. You can see it in the Company’s products, offerings, processes, policies, strategies. If the leader is socially conscious, it will show in the business. That’s why there is so much importance placed on the Founders, leaders of organizations.

What We did at Nummy

Our processing facility is in a rural area to provide employment opportunities to rural locals. Our production is completely managed by women.

 

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Trust me, there is nothing women can’t do! We source from sustainable farmers, we upcycle our waste, and we have many more ideas that can benefit the society and environment.

Stay tuned for more…

Make your choice now!

Helpful?

If yes, start questioning. You can be a startup or established business, there is no right time to bring more consciousness into your business.

If your answer is no, continue doing the awesome things you are already doing!

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Need a Quick Healthy Snack? Try Twinkle Khanna’s Gluten-Free Makhana Recipe

Need a Quick Healthy Snack? Try Twinkle Khanna's Gluten-Free Makhana Recipe

If you’re looking for a guilt-free snack for the summer, look no further than Twinkle Khanna’s unique gluten-free Makhana recipe.

Earlier this year, Twinkle Khanna’s digital media company, Tweak India, designed a 21-day fitness challenge (called #21Tweaks) for people who were willing to make small changes to their daily habits to ease into a healthy lifestyle.

From healthy diet changes to mindfulness meditation techniques to workout hacks, the 21-day challenge covered all things fitness and wellness.

As part of this challenge, Twinkle Khanna shared her family-favorite Makhana recipe, which is the perfect healthy snack for evening tea breaks and midnight munchies.

 

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The best part about this Makhana recipe? It’s super easy to prepare.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cup makhana
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Take ghee or oil in a hot pan, add rai, curry leaves, green chilies and then add the makhana.
  • Stir it continuously till it gets a golden color.
  • Add salt.
  • Mix it thoroughly and transfer to a bowl or plate and serve hot.

That’s it — your delicious and healthy makhana snack is ready. Enjoy it with tea, a smoothie, or any other healthy drink.

In her Instagram post, Twinkle Khanna acknowledged makhana’s health benefits. Since makhana is low on cholesterol, saturated fats, and is a gluten-free source of healthy carbs and iron, it makes for a perfect tea-time snack. It can even satisfy your midnight cravings.

So replace all the unhealthy snacks in your kitchen with healthy and gluten-free makhana. If you don’t have time to cook, order our ready-to-eat flavored Nummy makhana today. It’s available in three flavors — Cheesy, Tangy, and Spicy.

Order your Nummy Makhana today on Amazon or Big Basket.

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How to Make Makhanas a Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle

Makhana Kheer Recipe

Whether you’re on a long hiking trip, or just spending time at home it’s often said that nuts are the undisputed snack companions. They are filling, healthy, tasty, and just munching on them is always a treat all on its own. Nuts are also a versatile ingredient when it comes to crafting up unique recipes that are sure to satisfy anyone’s palate. 

One particular peanut variant has been growing a steady amount of interest from health-conscious individuals – the Makhanas or fox nuts as they’re more commonly called.

What Are Makhanas?

Makhanas are seeds of the lotus flower, the Euryale ferox, which is a type of watering plant classified in the water lily family. These plants usually grow in the stagnant water of wetlands or ponds in East Asia. 

These edible seeds have become quite a staple in Indian cuisine, and they have also been used in ancient Chinese medicines. Thus, proving once more the sheer versatility of nuts in any shape or form.

Makhanas are highly produced in the state of Bihar in India, as well as other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. A few parts of Eastern Russia have also cultivated these edible seeds, and they’ve been reaping all the fantastic health benefits.

Health Benefits of Makhanas

Makhanas are known for the many health benefits that they bring. They are commonly consumed when fasting due to their nutritional value. The nuts are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium making them the ideal snack to satisfy one’s hunger pangs. 

The delightfully munchy Makhanas are a popular aid in weight loss due to their low caloric content. The nuts are also a good source of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, manganese, and phosphorus.

Not only are they delicious, the nuts can be consumed just for its health benefits alone. A few of these health benefits include:

Weight Loss

Saturated fat is one of the many culprits of unwanted weight gain, coupled with high caloric content and the potential for overeating. There are various food items today that contain a mishmash of the bad stuff, which is why it is important to keep an eye on everything you consume when trying to lose weight.

Fortunately, Makhana is a superfood for weight loss. These nuts are low in calories and contain negligible amounts of saturated fat, which make them a great snack option when trying to stay fit and healthy. Moreover, Makhanas contain sufficient amounts of protein that can help one stay full for longer periods of time. 

Anti-aging Properties

Makhanas contain a certain anti-aging enzyme that helps repair damaged proteins. The regular consumption of these nuts aids in the fight against free radicals. 

They contain a natural flavonoid called kaempferol which helps slow down the aging process. Kaempferol greatly assists in the aging process by slowing down the signs of aging such as wrinkles, grey hair, and hair loss.

The nuts also contain detoxifying agents that help flush out all the toxins from the body. Makhanas play an essential role in helping the detoxification of blood by cleaning out the spleen. Their antioxidant properties are essential health benefits that consumers could definitely leverage.

Lowers Health Risks of Various Diseases

Due to their high magnesium and low sodium content, Makhanas can be beneficial to those who are suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Since they are rich in good carbohydrates and protein, they are great inclusions to a strict diet. Makhanas are low glycemic foods that can play a significant role in managing one’s blood sugar levels.

Makhanas have a lower glycemic index compared to other staple foods making them a snack you can keep having if you need to watch your sugar levels. The correct preparation of this highly nutritional snack also plays an important role towards delivering the right nutrients to its consumers.

Makhana Recipes to Try

Munching on Makhanas is fun and healthy, but they can also be used as an ingredient for delightful dishes. It must be noted though that preparing Makhana the right way is vital for maximizing its potential health benefits. Here are several recipes that you can try for yourself to elevate the Makhana food experience:

Dry Roasted Makhana: In a non-stick pan or griddle, place Makhanas and roast on a low flame until they appear slightly brown. Moderate the flame as necessary, but do not burn the nuts. Once the nuts are roasted, transfer in an air-tight jar and store in a dry place.

Makhanas Roasted With Ghee/Coconut Oil: For individuals who are not averse to a little bit of healthy fat, ghee or coconut oil can be added to the pan before roasting Makhana. Salt and chaat masala could also be added, but make sure to avoid adding too much of these artificial flavorings.

Sugar-Free Makhana Kheer: For individuals with a sweet tooth, Makhanas can also be prepared as a dessert. Dry roast the fox nuts until crisp, once dried the nuts should be cooled before blended coarsely in a grinder. Boil milk in a deep non-stick pan. Add dates and the coarsely crushed Makhanas once the milk boils. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and cook on a medium flame for about two to five minutes while stirring occasionally.

Makhana Raita: In a pan, dry roast the Makhanas for five minutes until they are crisp. Cool the nuts and store in a ziplock bag. Once stored, roll a rolling pin over the bag until all of the nuts are crushed but not powdered. Whisk yogurt in a bowl until smooth, and add chaat masala, salt, and the crushed Makhanas. Stir the mixture and serve with coriander leaves as garnish.

Makhana Curry: Boil onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and cashews in a cup of water for five minutes. Grind to a fine paste once the mixture cools down. Dry roast Makhanas for five minutes until they are crisp. In a non-stick pan, heat ghee and add cloves, cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon. Once the cumin crackles, add the paste and cook for five more minutes while stirring in between.

Add masalas, and saute for one minute. Add a cup of water and let the mixture boil. Add the curd and whisk the entire time. Add the Makhanas and cook for two minutes while stirring. Only stop stirring once the gravy is absorbed, add more water if necessary. Finally, add garam masala and coriander leaves. Serve the dish hot.

Over to You

Makhanas are indeed versatile and healthy nuts that are incredibly easy to incorporate to a lifestyle. Not only is this snack enjoyable to consume by itself, there are also various delicious ways to prepare it. 

If you need a guilt-free snack that provides many health benefits, this superfood should become a staple in your pantry. You can find it in most vegetarian shops or you can order Makhanas online from a direct seller. 

Try out the recipes we’ve suggested or get creative! The possibilities are endless, and trying Makhanas could be the best health decision you’ll make for yourself.

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How to Use Makhana for Weight Loss (Healthy Makhana Recipes Included)

How to Use Makhanas or Lotus Seeds in Your Weight Loss Journey

The Makhana wave has started, and the superfood is quickly making a name for itself as an FMCG product.

The super nutritious snack that once used to go unnoticed on the supermarket aisles is now grabbing the attention of India’s health-conscious folks.

Why is this shift happening?

It turns out that Makhanas (also called lotus seeds, water lily seeds, and fox nuts) are not only tasty but have several health benefits. Here are a few Makhana  benefits you should know:

Makhana Benefits - Nummy Makhana

As you can see, one of the Makhana health benefits is “Weight Loss.”

Although using Makhana for weight loss is still a foreign idea to most people, the awareness is growing as more and more celebrities, and dieticians are recommending the healthy snack to the masses.

When a fitness icon and celebrity like Kareena Kapoor Khan swears by the health benefits of Makhanas, health buffs are bound to go bonkers over it. The actress grabbed a lot of media attention for her post-pregnancy transformation and also revealed in an interview that adding makhanas to her diet helped her shed weight and retain her glow.

If you’re someone who is trying to lose weight and are not sure how to use this newfound tool in your arsenal, we’ve got some tasty recipes to get you started.

But before that, let’s find out how makhanas can help you lose weight.

Is Makhana Good for Weight Loss?

Makhanas are a rich source of proteins and carbohydrates and are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. The nutritional profile of Makhana aids in weight loss by helping one stay full longer after eating.

Makhanas are especially helpful in dealing with untimely hunger pangs and are a great alternative to oily and processed snacks.

You might ask, “What about the calories?”

One of the reasons why Makhanas are a popular tea-time snack in the country is that they are low in calories. One cup of plain roasted makhanas (a 32 g serving) only adds up to 106 calories.

Makhanas have a detoxifying effect on the liver and boost metabolism, which helps with losing extra weight.

According to a study published by PubMed Central, Lotus seed has the potential to be developed as an effective agent against obesity-related diseases. While they aid in weight loss, researchers are also beginning to see that a Lotus seeds diet may slow down the process of weight gain for those who indulge in a high-fat diet.

How to Eat Makhana for Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, Makhanas work best when consumed as a midday snack.

Untimely hunger pangs pose a big threat to our weight loss goals as we are prone to binging on oily and processed snacks at such times.

Preparing and storing a batch of roasted makhanas at home is a low-calorie, highly nutritious alternative over the fried chips and pakodas.

Here are the 3 best makhana recipes for weight loss.

1. Ghee Roasted Makhana

Place your Makhanas in a non-stick pan and dry roast them on low flame.

Keep roasting until the soft spongy makhanas turn crisp and reveal shades of brown. This might take about 7 to 8 minutes.

Once ready, switch off the flame and let the makhanas cool.

Now, add two teaspoons of ghee or olive oil (depending on your choice) to a separate hard bottomed pan.

When the ghee melts, add a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper.

Mix the ingredients well before adding the makhanas so that the flavours stick on well and are evenly distributed. You can add white sesame seeds for extra crunchiness.

Load the dry roasted makhanas into the pan and toss them on low flame. Do this until you feel that all the flavours have mixed well.

The yummy Ghee Roasted Makhana is now ready. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container for daily use.

2. Healthy Makhana Chivda

Add two teaspoons of ghee to a hard bottom pan. Then add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, some finely chopped green chilies, and some curry leaves.

Stir them for a minute and add a few peanuts.

Once the ingredients are fried well, top the mixture with some chana dal, red chillies, and cashews. You can also add dried coconut if you don’t mind the flavor.

Keep tossing until they are fried well.

Add salt and turmeric depending on your taste. The mixture is now ready to load the dry roasted makhanas.

Mix and roast the makhanas until they are well coated with the masala. Once done, allow it to cool and then transfer them into an airtight container for future use.

3. Mint Flavored Makhana

This is a refreshing snack for your body during the summer.

Start as stated in the earlier recipes. Once the ghee melts, add some curry leaves and pumpkin seeds and stir until they are fried well. Then, add a pinch of rock salt (or table salt) and pepper for flavoring.

Roasted makhanas are now added to the pan and topped with herbs of choice.

Finally, add a teaspoon of mint (pudina) powder and mix the ingredients until the flavors are evenly distributed.

Your refreshing mint makhana is now ready for use.

You can customize the recipes by blending roasted makhanas with herbs and spices of your choice.

If you are more into sweets, choosing jaggery based makhana sweets is a good option over sugar based ones.

Final Thoughts

For best results, pair Makhanas with a healthy diet and exercise. Stick to your regular meals and avoid crash diets for healthy weight loss.

As the saying goes, “Too much of anything is too bad.” Refrain from overconsumption as it may cause allergies and gastrointestinal issues.

When consumed in the right quantity and right manner, makhana can be your best weight loss companion.

So how are you planning on using Makhana in your weight loss journey? Please do share with us in the comments below.

Looking for more healthy Makhana recipes? Try these quick and easy Makhana recipes to add the right dose of nutrition in your daily diet.

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Note: This blog post was first published on May 6, 2020 and has been updated regularly since then.

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Chocolate Makhana Recipe

Chocolate Makhana Recipe

Chocolate Makhana is a great option if you are a dessert lover and also like munching something sweet post lunch or dinner. It is a simple, quick, and easy recipe for chocolate lovers. This is an instant recipe for kids. It is perfect for a kiddie snack box or to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Ingredients

  1. Roasted makhana- 1 cup
  2. Ghee/Butter – 1 tbsp
  3. Chocolate(Dark/Milk) – ¼ cup
  4. Chopped cashews and almonds (optional) – 1tsp each

Instructions

  1. Dry roast the dry fruits until light brown.
  2. Also, dry roast the makhanas until it turns crunchy and crispy.
  3. In a bowl, take the cut pieces of chocolates and melt it using the double boiling technique. You can also melt in the microwave oven.
  4. Add the roasted makhana, almonds, and cashews and give it a toss until it is well coated with the melted chocolate.
  5. Spread the coated makhana over a greased plate and refrigerate for half an hour.

Chocolate Makhanas are ready to eat. Enjoy!

 

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Makhana Milkshake Recipe

Makhana Milkshake Recipe

Makhana Milkshake is similar to any other milkshake. The goodness of makhana adds nutritional value to your milkshake and is best to have during summers. As makhana blends easily with any flavor, it would not only make your shake healthy but also gives an excellent texture to your milkshake.

Ingredients

  1. Roasted Makhana – 8-10 pieces
  2. Sugar – 1tbsp (optional as ice cream is used)
  3. Chilled milk – 1 cup
  4. Vanilla Ice Cream – 1 scoop
  5. Almonds – 4
  6. Cashews – 4

Instructions

  1. In a mixture jar take roasted makhanas, almonds, cashews, and grind it into fine powder.
  2. Take a glass and put this powder and add chilled milk to it.
  3. Finally, add a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream and serve!

Healthy Tips

  1. You can replace sugar with jaggery or dates.
  2. You can also avoid ice cream and add one chilled banana for thickness.

 

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Aloo Makhana Pops Recipe

How to Use Makhanas or Lotus Seeds in Your Weight Loss Journey

Aloo Makhana Pops is a delicious and easy snack made with boiled potatoes and Fox Nuts or Lotus Seeds popularly known as Makhana or Phool Makhana. It is quick and easy and suitable for kids’ lunchboxes or tea-time snacks.

Ingredients

  1. Boiled potatoes – ½ cup
  2. Makhana/ lotus seeds – 1 cup
  3. Ghee – 1tsp
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Mint leaves finely chopped – 1tsp
  6. Coriander leaves finely chopped – 1 tsp
  7. Oil – 1 tsp 
  8. Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp 
  9. Green chilli finely chopped – 1/2 tsp 
  10. Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
  11. Jeera powder –  ¼ tsp
  12. Chaat masala –  ¼ tsp  (optional)
  13. Pinch of garam masala (optional)
  14. Lemon juice – ½ tsp

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan.
  2. Add makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready, transfer it into a bowl.
  3. In the same pan take 1tsp oil, cumin seeds, and green chillies and allow it to splutter and then add boiled potatoes along with the spice powders and salt. Let it roast for 2 mins.
  4. Add roasted makhana and mix well.
  5. Finally add coriander leaves, pudina leaves, and lemon juice.
  6. Switch the flame off, make small grape size balls from the mixture, and serve hot with ketchup or chutney.
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Makhana Kheer Recipe

Makhana Kheer Recipe

Makhana Kheer is a dessert that is often made during Mahashivratri, Navratri, and even during fasting. This kheer is similar to other kheers yet extremely delicious and healthy. Makhana kheer is super easy to prepare and a great treat to your taste buds.

Ingredients

  1. Makhana ( Fox Nuts or Phool Makhana) – 4 cups
  2. Milk – 1.5 Ltr
  3. Grated/desiccated coconut – ½ cup
  4. Cardamom powder — 2 tsp
  5. 10 -12 cashews or 10 -12 almonds – blanched and sliced
  6. Raisins – 1tbsp
  7. Condensed milk- 400gms (1tin)
  8. A pinch of saffron (optional)
  9. Ghee (clarified butter) – 2-3 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Take 2 tbsp of ghee in a pan and fry cashews and raisins until it turns golden brown. Keep these aside.
  2. In the same pan, add makhanas and roast until it is crunchy. Keep it aside.
  3. Blend 2/3rd of makhanas in a blender and keep it aside.
  4. Heat milk and stir at intervals and let it come to a boil. 
  5. Add makhana powder into the milk and stir it for a minute and then add remaining whole roasted makhana into the mixture.
  6. Add sweetened condensed milk, stir and cook for another 2 mins.
  7. Add cardamom powder and saffron to the milk and keep stirring it for another 2 minutes.
  8. Let it boil for another 8 – 9 mins until makhana softens and milk thickens.
  9. Lastly, add the fried cashews and raisins.
  10. You can serve it hot/warm/chilled as per your choice.
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Makhana Burfi / Makhana Katli Recipe

How to Use Makhanas or Lotus Seeds in Your Weight Loss Journey

Are you a Kaju Katli Lover? If so then try Makhana Katli /Burfi which is equally delicious and adds variety to your regular sweet fare. Makhana Katli is a simple sweet delicacy that you can prepare within 10 mins.

Ingredients

1. Lotus Seeds (Makhana) – 2 cups
2. Ghee – 2½ tsps
3. Desiccated coconut – ½ cup
4. Sugar – ½ to 1 cup according to taste
5. Water – ½ cup
6. A pinch of green cardamom powder
7. Pista slices for garnish

Instructions

1. Heat 1 tsp ghee in a pan.
2. Add makhana and roast it for 8-10 mins until it becomes crunchy, on low flame. Once it’s ready, transfer it into a bowl and let it cool.
3. Blend roasted makhana in a blender separately into fine powder.
4. Add 1tsps ghee into a pan. Add makhana powder, desiccated coconut and mix on low/medium flame until it is slightly aromatic for 3 mins
5. In a separate pan, add sugar, water, and heat till it turns into a thick syrup.
6. Add the sugar syrup, green cardamom powder into the makhana powder pan and mix well. Cook till the mixture leaves the pan and turns slightly brown.
7. Grease a tray/plate with ghee on all sides. Transfer the mixture and spread it evenly.
8. Sprinkle pista flakes over the burfi and press gently. Makhana katli is ready!

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5 Indian Superfoods You Must Include in Your Diet

5 Indian Superfoods You Must Include in Your Diet

What comes to your mind when you think of superfoods?

Unlike what they sound, superfoods are not artificial foods that impart superhuman strength to people. The origin of the term ‘superfoods’ has no scientific background. It is mainly a marketing term that came to life considering the growing interest of the people in health and wellness.

So what are superfoods? Superfoods are nutrient-rich, natural ingredients that provide greater health benefits over other foods. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that help the body. In simple words, superfoods offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimum calories. 

Due to extensive research on the subject, the list of superfoods keeps changing every year. While most of them rave about western foods such as kale, blueberry, and avocados, there are several lesser-known alternatives that are commonly available in India.

Long before the idea of superfoods hit us, our grandmothers knew exactly what was healthy and beneficial for our health. Several conventional Indian foods have been in use for thousands of years because of their impressive nutritional profile and therapeutic benefits.

Before we take a look at them, let’s understand how including superfoods in our diet can help us.

Benefits of Superfoods

The emergence of chronic diseases has forced us to take a hard look at our dietary patterns. Studies show that along with elevating our overall health, superfoods can protect us against degenerative diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.

When consumed along with a balanced diet, superfoods improve heart health and promote weight loss. They act against bad bacteria and have antioxidant properties that slow down aging.

Superfoods are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that is lacking in most diets today. Including them in the diet helps reach the daily recommended value of fiber and keeps digestive problems at bay.

Consuming superfoods is a great way to fill the nutritional gap caused by our modern-day busy lifestyle and live through the day with energy and vitality.

5 Commonly Found Indian Superfoods to Include in Your Diet

1. Makhana or Lotus Seeds

Makhanas or lotus seeds, which are the popped seeds of water lily plants, are now gaining popularity for their health and weight-loss benefits. The small puffed balls are low in fat and are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber; a combination that is helpful for weight loss and better digestion.

Makhanas are a great addition to mineral-deficient diets as they carry abundant amounts of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. This comes with a plethora of health benefits such as good heart health, anti-aging, reducing inflammation, diabetes control, relieving infertility, and maintaining healthy kidneys and spleen.

When researchers used crushed fox nuts to substitute all-purpose flour to prepare cookies, they found that the cookies had lower moisture and fat content. Fox Nut flour is a gluten-free and healthier option over refined flour and it’s long term health benefits cannot be overruled.

How to include Makhana in your diet?

Dried Lotus seeds can be soaked overnight and added to soups, salads, curries, and other dishes. For weight loss, replace chips with healthy roasted makhanas as they are low in calories and help satiate hunger pangs.

2. Ghee or Clarified Butter

Wait, ghee? Isn’t ghee supposed to make us fat?

Ghee has been used in Ayurveda for over a thousand years for its therapeutic properties. In the olden days, ghee was predominantly used as a base for administering herbal remedies for various ailments.

Earlier ghee was suspected to be a reason for bad cholesterol and heart problems. But extensive scientific research indicates that moderate consumption of ghee does not show any harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels.

A baffling study on a rural population in India showed a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in men who consumed higher amounts of ghee. Moreover, the consumption of ghee led to significant improvements in patients with psoriasis symptoms.

These positive research findings support the beneficial effects of ghee outlined in the ancient Ayurvedic texts and makes it worthy of the coveted ‘superfood’ title.

How to include ghee in your diet?

1 or 2 tbsp of ghee is considered a healthy serving for the day. Consuming 1 tbsp ghee on an empty stomach is soothing for the body and helps in cell rejuvenation and healing. Ghee can also be added to your breakfast and meals to reap its benefits.

3. Amla or Gooseberry

Like Ghee, Amla is an old player in the Ayurvedic space. The word Amla is derived from the Sanskrit word “amlaki” which means “the sustainer”.

Amla is used in the two most popular Ayurvedic formulas “Triphala” and “Chyawanprash”. While Triphala detoxifies and nourishes the body, Chyavanprash is known to rejuvenate and strengthen it. Amla is rich in vitamin C and other vital vitamins that are important to our nervous system, immune system, skin, and hair.

An interesting study shows how amla can be beneficial in weight loss. Among two groups of test subjects, one group was served 60 kCals of amla for evening snack and the other group was served sweets of the same calories. It was observed that the subjects who consumed amla ate less food at night as compared to the group that had sweets.

How to include Amla in your diet?

If you don’t mind the sourness, it is best to eat them raw. You can also add amla to fruit salads and cereals so that the taste blends well. Other popular options are sun-dried amla candy, amla juice, amla pickle, and chutney.

4. Coconut

The food that is commonly available is also one that is easily sidelined. Coconut is an unsung hero that has been silently saving millions of lives around the world. 

An excerpt from NDTV clearly states the connection between coconut oil and heart health. Until the 1980s, despite large amounts of coconut consumption, heart disease rate in Sri Lanka was the lowest in the world i.e. only 1 out of every 10,000 was suffering from a heart condition. Over the past decade, heart disease rates have gone up as coconut oil is replaced by refined vegetable oil. 

Besides improving heart health, coconut kills disease-causing bacteria, helps diabetics by slowing down sugar release into the bloodstream and boosts body metabolism. This superfood also carries the potential to prevent strokes and brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

How to include Coconuts in your diet?

Coconut water is a tasty and nutrient-rich alternative over sugary drinks. Try replacing refined sugar with coconut sugar for its health benefits. Coconut milk and virgin coconut oil can be added to curries and sweets. Other options include desiccated coconut (naariyal buraada), coconut chips, and spreads. You would want to consume coconut-based products in moderation to keep the calorie count under control.

5. Millets

If you are looking for a better alternative over quinoa, millets are your best bet. Thanks to the superfood bandwagon, people are now realising the health benefits of these grains that were once called old-fashioned.

Replacing refined flour with millet flour improves the digestive system and keeps one full longer. Sorgham (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi) and Pearl Millet (Bajra) are easily available in the supermarkets and are better nutrient sources over rice and wheat.

Millet crops grow in low rainfall regions as they need less water. The crop is completely organic as it doesn’t require pesticides and fertilizers for support. Millets have an excellent shelf life and can be stored for up to two years.

How to include Millets in your diet?

Millet flour is commonly used to make rotis in several parts of the country. When you use refined flour, try replacing 30% of it with millet flour for added health benefits. Millets can also be used to make cereal porridge, idli, dosas, and upma.

Eating a Well Balanced Diet

No single food can provide every single nutrient our body needs in the exact amount needed. So it is best that we eat a combination of healthy foods, all of which balance each other out. 

The title ‘superfoods’ may cause some people to excessively focus on a few specific foods, blinding them to other equally nutritious options that aren’t as hyped.

By eating a balanced diet we not only get the essential vitamins and minerals, but also prevent eating too much or too little of a particular nutrient. Importantly, a variety in our diet keeps our meals interesting and flavorful!

5 Indian Superfoods You Must Include in Your Diet