Superfoods – the buzzword in the emerging health & wellness market – are creating waves among those pumped by the idea of healthy living. We’ve all heard about the benefits of eating super foods and how they are power-packed with essential nutrients but many people are not aware of ways to eat superfoods everyday without entirely disrupting the way they eat currently.
The purpose behind this post is to demystify Superfoods – why we need them? Do I need to change my diet to accommodate them? How to get more of them?
Before jumping into some simple techniques for adding superfoods into your diet, let us try and first understand their benefits. If you already know these and want to get to the good stuff, feel free to skim through or skip this part.
We will be talking about SIX Superfoods in this post. Let’s first go through the benefits of these to your health –
#1 Ragi (Millets)
- Rich in Protein & Calcium – for healthier bones and teeth
- High Fiber Content – Helps with weight loss and to reduce cholesterol
- Helps in controlling diabetes – owing to its low glycemic index value
- Contains vital amino acids which help in healthier and younger looking skin
- Helps in absorption of natural iron into your body
- Due to presence of antioxidants work as relaxants for your body and can help in dealing with anxiety, depression and insomnia
- Contains Vitamin C and also provides good amounts of Calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorous – these help in boosting your immunity, better bone health, good cardiac health and optimal mental health
- Helps in reduction of cholesterol levels
- High fiber content
- High source of protein – leading to better energy levels and immunity boost
- Good source of potassium, iron and Vitamin B
- High fiber content – helps in weight-loss and regular bowel movements
- Low Glycemic Index – helps in reducing risk of diabetes
- Very high in antioxidants – help fight against many diseases
#4 Brown Rice
- Higher fiber content than white rice – helps in better digestion and regular bowel movements
- Contains manganese and phosphorous that help reduce obesity by synthesizing body fats
- Helps in reduction of cholesterol levels
- Contains selenium which is good for your heart – prevention of blockage of arteries, hypertension and vascular diseases
Including different types of seeds in your diet can really benefit your health by reducing blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Some of the easily available seeds that you can include in your diet are –
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Seeds are a great source of fiber, protein and Omega-3 fats. If you want to know more about the benefits of different types of seeds and Omega-3 fats, you can refer to the links below –
#6 Moringa Powder
- Good source of protein, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, Iron, Vitamin A and riboflavin(B2)
- Helps in reduction of cholesterol levels
- Rich in antioxidants that help fight against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
- Is also known to reduce inflammation in the body
Now that we have gone through so many benefits of these SUPERFOODS, the next question arises, HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE them in your diet??
If you are a foodie like me, you do not want to compromise on taste. Whenever someone talks about eating healthier – you always think of compromising on taste or dieting and giving up your current eating habits.
To eat superfoods everyday, you might have to make a few compromises but there are ways you can have your cake and eat it too.
These are some ways I have used to incorporate the (so-many) benefits of superfoods in my daily diet without compromising with taste and keeping it light on my pocket:
1. Mixing your current flour with Superfoods
Be it Dosa, chapatis or pancakes, we are used to using rice flour or processed flour. The easiest way of making a healthier alternative is by mixing some superfoods into your flour before the kneading process. You can mix in grounded seeds, Amaranth, grounded Quinoa or Ragi powder to your flour and make it much healthier.
Try and mix in ratio of 9:1 at first (9 being the conventional flour) and increase your quantity of superfoods each time. You will notice a change in taste as you increase the quantity of superfoods. Adjust according to your taste and settle on a ratio that suits you. This is one of the simplest methods to eat superfoods everyday.
2. Healthy but gradual replacement of Rice
Rice is a staple diet in Asia and while it’s a great source of carbs, it does have its disadvantages –
- Excess consumption of white rice can lead to obesity and lack of energy
- White rice is highly processed and the grain loses it natural nutrients and fiber
- It is also associated with a high risk of type 2 diabetes in adults as it gets converted into blood sugar more rapidly
Rice forms such a basic part of our diet for many of us and is very hard to replace entirely. Hence my suggestion is that to reduce your intake bit-by-bit by healthier substitutes. For instance, if you have rice 3 times a week, replace it once by a healthier substitute like Brown rice or Quinoa
3. Make your Breakfast more nutritious
If you are used to having Indian breakfast dishes like upma, idli or poha or even western dishes like pancakes – you can go for much healthier options like –
- Ragi-Rava Upma/Idli – mix of Ragi (millets) & Rava instead of only Rava (semolina)
- Red rice poha – higher fiber content than traditional variety of Poha
- Millet Pancakes – instead of using traditional flour. Here you can also use a mixture of millets & flour as well
Another major upside of these options is that they reduce your gluten intake significantly.
Read more about Why you should reduce your gluten-intake.
4. Introducing more seeds into your diet through Smoothies
Smoothies can be a great source of nutrients if you use the right ingredients. You can make smoothies at home using a simple mixer-grinder or blender and have them either in the morning as part of your breakfast or as an evening snack.
You can also make a meal out of it by pouring out your smoothie into a bowl and then adding some nuts and fruits on top of it to make it filling.
Here is my simple smoothie template that you can use to experiment with and try out different recipes –
- Add Fruits of your choice
- Add Veggies of your choice
- Plant-based butter (almond/peanut/coconut)
- Liquid – Plant based milk (Soy/almond/coconut/oat) or water or lemon juice
- Seeds – Add your 1 or 2 seeds of your choice
- Nuts – Add 1 or 2 nuts of your choice – cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc
- Additional flavoring (if needed) – vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, cocoa powder
- Additional sweeteners (if needed) – Honey, dates
Put all of these together in the blender or mixer-grinder and run it till everything combines together into a delicious smoothie. You can check out my three favourite smoothie recipes for a healthy breakfast.
5. Make Home-made Granola Bars with Nuts & Seeds
Have you ever felt hungry during the evening and then helped yourself to some chips or any other form of unhealthy snack? I surely have and I found the solution to this by making some healthy granola bars at home. You can purchase them as well from the store but I find it much simpler and cheaper to make them at home. The basic ingredients include –
- Peanut Butter
- Nuts – Any
- Seeds – Any
- Dried Fruit – Cranberry works very well
You can check out my recipe of Easy no bake Granola balls for healthy evening snacking.
6. Make your Green Tea even more healthy
Instead of just having green tea, add half a spoon of Moringa Powder to your teacup to make your cup of tea healthier. Moringa powder is grown in North India and is readily available. If you do not live in India – you can do the same thing with Matcha powder which you find in your local supermarket.
You can also find Moringa Green and Matcha Green teabags where you will not need to add the powders separately.
If Green tea is not your cup of tea, you can add a spoonful of honey to your mixture of green tea and moringa/matcha powder to sweeten the deal. Just make sure to use organic honey and not the store-bought variety as that might contain high amounts of sugar.
And there we have it – 6 ways to incorporate superfoods into your diet. This is the first one in my series of posts related to healthy eating habits.
Hope you liked it and please do let me know when you try some of these suggestions in the comments below. 😊
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