10 Natural Ingredients That Boost Your Fitness Goals
One thing that always brings people together is good food. While the age-old culture of family members sitting together for a meal is gradually phasing out, we are still counting on our food to be delicious and healthy every time we bite into a morsel. I’ve rounded up 10 natural ingredients which have nutrients that can help you stay fit and healthy. Add these to your daily diet for a healthier lifestyle.
A favourite among the people of East India and Bangladesh, Panch Phoran is a colourful blend of 5 whole spices – fennel seeds, black mustard, nigella seeds, fenugreek, and cumin seeds. These five ingredients come together adding depth and a delicious flavour to give dishes a wonderful aroma. All of these seeds have different benefits, and all of them aid digestion and improve your overall immunity proving that good food can be healthy too.
The Indian gooseberry is a powerhouse of health, and has been used as a medicine for ages. Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha preparations recognize the benefits of Awla and utilize it in many ways, including very effectively curing diarrhoea and dysentery. Being a fruit rich in vitamin C and many other nutrients, a spoonful of Amla can be added to your daily diet, by either mixing it with water or honey for goodness at anytime of the day.
Indians are big fans of this wonder spice. It is dutifully added to our morning and evening tea for a zesty flavour and a healthier cup of tea. Our food preparations also include generous additions of ginger in different forms. Studies report that ginger can treat chronic indigestion problems and also help you combat soreness of muscles and joints. It reduces cholesterol levels and is known to prevent the growth of different types of bacteria in your system.
Once a staple food of the Aztecs, Amaranth is gaining significant attention from people around the world once again. The grain has been cultivated for almost 8000 years and is rich in lysine which is an amino acid that is found in low quantities in other grains. It is a gluten-free grain packed with calcium and iron that helps keep your body fit and healthy.
Flaxseeds rightfully claim their place in the category of super foods because of their plentiful stores of lignans that exceeds the amount of lignans in any other plant food by almost 75 to 100 percent. Lignan makes flaxseeds rich in antioxidants and phytoestrogens, while also providing fiber-like benefits that improve digestion and keep you healthy. In addition it is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which are grouped as ‘good’ fats that are heart-friendly.
Bajra or Pearl Millet
Bajra is identified as a staple food in many parts of rural India prepared in different forms like chapati and khichdi, and has been cultivated since ancient times. This gluten-free grain is a rich source of antioxidants, magnesium, fibre, copper, zinc, folate, iron, thiamine, vitamins E and B-complex, riboflavin, iron and niacin. It also contains phytochemicals which strengthens our immune system. Pearl millet is a heart-healthy food that can be consumed even by those who suffer from gluten allergies or gluten-related health conditions.
Jowar, or Sorghum, or White Millet
Another gluten-free grain, Jowar, is a cereal which traces its roots to Africa. This cholesterol-free grain supplements your body with nutrients like dietary fibre, phosphorus, iron, and thiamine. Jowar flower can be used in place of wheat flour in many of your baking preparations or you can even steam the kernels or add them to soups.
Size is hardly of importance when it comes to the nutritional value of sesame seeds. These tiny seeds are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, and natural oils. A generous sprinkle of sesame seeds helps your body get copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium. People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Vascular or Respiratory health conditions will benefit from sesame seeds.
I love munching on this nutrient-dense snack at almost any time of the day. Peanuts benefit your heart by improving the level of good cholesterol in the body and reducing the bad ones due to the presence of mono-unsaturated fatty acids especially Oleic acid. They also reduce the risk of coronary problems and help in improving overall health, as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While its health benefits abound, be careful if you notice an intolerance towards these nuts, as peanut allergies can be risky.
Jaggery or Gud in Hindi
Loaded with minerals and antioxidants, jaggery is known to aid in detoxification by flushing out toxins from the liver. It also helps the digestive system stay healthy and is a good source of iron. The glycemic index of jaggery is lower than that of table sugar, making it a delicious sweetener that comes with a lower risk of increasing blood sugar. Moderation is the key in eating any food, so be careful with jaggery too because it includes more calories than your average sweetener.
The next time you’re looking for a healthy fix that also tickles your taste buds; you can turn to nature’s best and the goodness it has to offer!