Indigenous foods can give your family its daily quota of proteins, fats and other important nutrients.
Indigenous foods have been long ignored under the pressure of social media fads and deserve every bit of our attention. There are plenty of nutrient-rich, locally-grown foods that are super pocket-friendly and will forever change your family’s relationship with food.
Meanwhile, here’s a startling fact, according to World Health Organization (WHO), nutrition-related diseases account for about 60 per cent of all deaths and 43 per cent of the global burden of disease, and that by 2020, the impact of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases is expected to rise to 73 per cent of all deaths and 60 per cent of the global burden of disease! Now, that’s worrisome. Thankfully, healthy nutrition is something that has always been within our control.
They are ‘Bob the Builders’ for our body! Remember how that little character from childhood went on building an entire city block by block? That is exactly what proteins do for our body; it builds every cell, muscle, hormones, antibodies right from your skin to hair. About 16 per cent of a human’s average body weight is made up of protein, making it highly essential for your child and you.
Great sources of protein include quinoa, sattu, milk and milk products, kidney beans (rajma), lentil (masoor ki dal), oats, chikpea (chole), barley (jau), egg-whites, fish, meat, and chicken.
Falling prey to low-carb and Keto diet fads? Carbs are food for the central nervous system and the brain, protecting against diseases. It’s vital to include these in our everyday diet to maintain a regular source of food for the brain and central nervous system.
Carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Indians, courtesy the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Some sources of carbohydrates are ragi, jowar, bajra, all fruits, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, wholewheat, buck wheat (kuttu), bananas and oats.
Sounds blasphemous to the health freak in you, but fat is the most abused word in the health industry. The truth is, we are very ill-informed about the good fat. Fats support in vitamin and mineral absorption, blood-clotting, brain development, building cells and muscle movement. Yes, fats are high in calories, but those calories are an important energy source for your body. And, you just need to eat right!
The Dietary Guidelines for Indians recommends that 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from fat, but the World Health Organization suggests keeping it under 30 percent of your calories.
Some sources of fats are ghee, butter, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pista, cashews, pine nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts), seeds (flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds).
Vitamins and Minerals
Thought these terms were just in your biology books? No! Both these have an important role to play in your body. The body needs these micronutrients to build the bones, muscles, teeth, maintain the metabolism and stay hydrated. The most commonly found minerals are calcium, iron and zinc; the three most important aspects for bones and blood.
Some indigenous sources of vitamins and minerals include vegetables and fruits, such as watermelons, milk, cheese, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, cereals, spinach, fish, meat, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits and strawberries. Consuming them raw is more beneficial.
Surprised? Thought water didn’t have any special qualities? Myth buster—water is the most helpful and important nutrient and beats all the others in priority, hands down. You can go weeks without food, try doing that without water (do not try that, though!). Water is absolutely crucial for every system in your body. It’s also the main constituent of your body weight, of which about 62 percent is water. Water improves your brain function and mood. It acts a shock absorber and a lubricant in the body. It also helps flush out toxins, carry nutrients to cells, hydrate the body, and prevent constipation.
Some sources of water are well, water in its plain form. Some food items have more water content in it like watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, ice apple, celery.
These indigenous sources of nutrients are readily available for all and can be included as a part of our daily diet. These ingredients are easy to make and digest making it easier for the body to absorb and use the energy.
(Inputs from GOQii.)