MORE POWER TO POWDER
A dash of these (powder) superfoods in your daily diet – be it in a smoothie, juice, soup or curry – will keep your immune system in order
It’s often hard to keep track of our health index – are we eating right? Are we missing out on something? Or are we not eating enough? Diets across the world offer solutions that look really tempting, but are often difficult to sustain. Which is why it always makes sense to follow a balance of some sort, and add some exercise into our daily lives.
When it comes to fortifying our foods, India has innumerable boosters that can keep your immune system in check, protect your heart, give your hair, skin and nails the nourishment they need, and keep you going through the day. These boosters are nowadays available in powdered form, which you can add to your morning smoothie, a soup, dal, or even curries. Some – for instance, Moringa powder – can even be had as tea.
Here’s a list of superfoods you can include in your daily diet. How you choose to do it is completely up to you:
Ashwagandha Powder (Indian Ginseng)
The literal translation of Ashwagandha in Sanskrit is ‘smell of horse’, and the powder aims to do just that – offering horse-like strength and vitality to those who consume it. Also known as Indian ginseng, it works very well to relieve stress, anxiety, joint pain and insomnia, and also helps boost the immunity of the person who takes it while offering anti-aging properties. Containing an active ingredient called ‘withanolide’, Ashwagandha is also used to help the body cope with daily stress, to improving thinking ability as well as to ensure restful sleep at night. It is often recommended to the elderly and for those recovering from a chronic illness or hospitalisation.
Having trouble recalling things? Want to improve your sex life? Try some Brahmi. This therapeutic, traditional herb is often used as a general tonic, and specifically, as an aphrodisiac and cognitive memory enhancer. Brahmi helps to improve concentration, refresh the mind, enhance the power of memory, ease stress, clear your skin and promote hair growth. Also rich in antioxidants, Brahmi boosts the immune system and helps regulate blood sugar and digestion.
Aloe Vera Powder
Touted as the magical elixir to all kinds of skin problems, Aloe Vera has been used for ages for its soothing, cooling and healing properties. Made from the fleshy, juicy leaves of the Aloe Vera plant, it has 18 essential amino acids and contains vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B4, and B12, as well as minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, silicon, iron, lithium, and copper. It is great for joint health and also aids in the battle against cholesterol while improving digestion and liver function. It strengthens the immune system, activating white blood cells to help fight infections. It can also be used for treating sunburns, wounds, acne and skin aging.
A superfood rich in chlorophyll, minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin K, Alfalfa is great for buttressing nutrition. Alfalfa helps stimulate appetite, support urinary and bowel function and also improves levels of iron in the blood. Rich in fiber, it is often useful in gastrointestinal problems, helping to relieve gastritis, stomach ulcers, indigestion, bloating, nausea and constipation due to its high fibre content. Great for women, it helps minimise symptoms of menopause and menstruation, and helps regulate estrogen.
Moringa powder High in antioxidants,
Moringa powder offers several health benefits. One of them is helping keep blood sugar levels in check – very useful for diabetics and those with a history of
heart disease. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Made from the leaves of the drumstick plant, it is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and antioxidants – did you know it has levels of protein comparable to yogurt; potassium comparable to bananas; calcium comparable to milk and Vitamin C comparable oranges? It also helps protect the heart, liver and brain and has antimicrobial properties, helping heal wounds and skin infections.
Barley Grass Powder
Extracted from the seedling of the barley plant, this is a potent superfood – a concentrated source of nearly 36 vitamins and minerals. Abundant in antioxidants and containing 18 amino acids, barley grass is known to be very alkaline and helps balance the body’s pH levels. It is rich in chlorophyll, which makes it a natural detoxifier that helps rids the intestines of stored toxins. This, in turn, supports healthy blood and circulation. Barley grass is great for weight loss, anti-aging,
increased energy, better shut-eye and improving your immunity.
Who knew algae could do so much? Full of proteins, antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals, Spirulina is great to have if you’re prone to itches. People with colds and coughs – especially allergic rhinitis and sinusitis – find that it does wonders for their sniffles and scratchy throats. It also helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, give your immunity a boost, sharpen your memory and clear your complexion. Use it to help curb hunger, making it a great weight loss aid.
Wheatgrass is alkaline – but that’s not the only thing great about it. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes and antioxidants, it offers effective protection against heavy metals and toxins in the system. Great for the stomach, it helps with digestion, increases haemoglobin, improves blood sugar and wound healing, and treats bladder/urinary tract infections. It also helps restore pH balance in the body. If you struggle with an afternoon slump at the office, a dose of wheatgrass can help boost energy too. It also helps prevent tooth decay and improve eyesight – now who wouldn’t want that?
Part of the asparagus family, Shatavari is known in Ayurveda as the ‘Queen of herbs’, because it maintains and rejuvenates the female and male reproductive systems. It does this by helping maintain hormonal balance, supporting fertility and encouraging healthy breast milk production. Shatavari also aids digestive
health, boosts energy levels and helps the body cope with stress.
It is hailed for helping to build ojas, which governs vitality, virility, immunity and sleep. Shatavari also helps the body recover from spasms, pain, and insomnia while promoting a healthy inflammatory response in the intestines.
If your mom asks you to load up on Triphala, listen to her. Literally meaning three fruits, it is a formulation of Amla, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. If you’ve been
eating out too often or have a weak stomach in general, Triphala can help. It’s known for its digestive benefits (relieving constipation, for one) and natural blood purifying properties. It can also be used as part of a healthy weight loss programme along with diet and exercise. Triphala also supports a healthy cardiovascular and immune system and rejuvenates healthy tissues.