Health & Wellness

Navratri foods and how they are good for you  

Did you know why we eat particular foods during Navratri?

One of the biggest Hindu festivals, Navratri is celebrated with much gusto in honour of the divine Goddess Durga. Apart from the revelry, there are many devotees who fast religiously to detoxify the mind, body, and soul. We are thus encouraged to consume healthy and nutritious sattvic food. Here we throw light on the Navratri foods.

Good to know:

Navratri marks the changing of the seasons. It is around this time that our body’s immunity is low too. Sattvic foods are organic and give us the required energy. Even the vedas make a mention that sattvic food meets more than our fibre, carbs, vitamins and proteins needs. It keeps us fit and amps up our immunity.

The ingredients consumed during this autumn festival are highly soluble fibre and complex carbs for energy. These have a lower glycemic index and give the feeling of satiety which controls hunger pangs for a long time. All this makes for an ideal range of foods for not just the season but also for those on diet. The flours used during this time are healthy alternatives to wheat flour. With pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kala namak and ginger added to your meals, we give this Navratri health plan a big thumbs up.

We can now try some foods that are normally not used in our kitchens.

Buckwheat:

Have you tried buckwheat (kuttu) flour? No, now is the time.

Cultivated in the foothills of the Himalaya, this flowery grain made from triangular seeds is full of essential amino acids, antioxidants and fibre. Easy to digest, it has a deep nutty aroma and is super healthy. For those who have gluten intolerance, it is a great alternative to our regular flour.

Rich in: Kuttu is rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins like vitamin B and minerals like zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also rich in EFA and therefore helps to lower BP, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

Take a big bite: Enjoy kuttu ki roti, kuttu ki kadi, etc., and if you are watching your diet avoid deep fried, calories se bharpur kuttu ki puri and pakoras.

Sago, Sabudana or Tapioca:

Extracted from a plant, this starchy substance is further processed to give us those small dewdrops of pearls. It is typically used in during fasting with other ingredients like potatoes, peanuts, and chillies (if you want it spicy). It is also popular as wafers.

Rich in: Sabudana is low in fat and protein too. Though, it does make for a light snack and is an instant energy booster.

Take a big bite: Try sabudana kheer with nuts and dried fruits. If you want savoury reach out for upma or khichdi. Avoid eating sabudana vada. If you want it fried, then brush it with oil and bake it. This will make sago pearls crisp. Crunchy!

Singhara or water chestnut flour

Singhara atta, made from dried milled water chestnuts is a good source of antioxidants, essential mineral potassium and vitamin B. Even its kernel is nutritious. Low in calories and high in vitamin and fibre, it can be enjoyed by diabetics. What’s more, the flour is also gluten- free and has detoxifying as well cooling properties.

Rich in: Water chestnut is an excellent coolant and an effective way of controlling loose motions. It contains a trace of minerals like iodine and manganese which maintains the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. High in nutrients and low in calories makes them a go-to food for weight watchers and all those who follow a healthy lifestyle.

Take a big bite: You can either buy fresh water chestnut from the market and eat it, or use it as flour for roti, dhoklas to make it interesting.

Makhana:

Known as fox nuts or puffed lotus seeds, makhana is a popular fasting dish. It has also its rightful place in Ayurveda.

Rich in: Makhana is low in cholesterol, magnesium and sodium and therefore can be consumed by those suffering from high BP and heart diseases. Its low glycemic index makes it ideal for diabetics. The natural flavonoid kaempferol prevents inflammation and its anti-aging enzyme is beneficial in various ways. Gluten free, this delight is also beneficial to the kidneys.

Take a big bite: Makhana kheer, tossed makhana in rock salt and a little ghee, makhana chops.

Amaranth flour:

Rajgir atta is popularly used in making chikki and laddos. It is a non-cereal ingredient and specifically consumed during fasting days. Roti or parantha made of rajgir atta is usually served with vegetables.

Rich in: Rich in protein, it is also packed with an amino acid lysine which is not easily found in other foods. Amaranth flour is also high in fibre, calcium, antioxidants and protein content and makes for an ideal choice for diabetics.

Take a big bite:
Rajgir chikki or make a healthy breakfast choice with nuts and fruits. Can also be used for making soups, desserts, smoothies and other such yummies.

Barnyard millet:

‘Sanwa’ rice is yet another staple of the fasting diet. Grown in the hilly regions of Uttaranchal, it tastes like lapsi or broken brown rice when cooked. It is similar to rice in taste and texture. The food should be eaten unpolished as its hull is extremely nutritious.

Rich in: Sanwa rice is packed with fibre and iron and protein. It is a great source of energy, and contains B complex vitamins and important minerals like magnesium. The wonder is also said to be rich in phytochemicals which lower cholesterol levels.

Take a big bite:
Go for ‘sanwa’ kheer, idli, and dhokla. You can also try ‘sanwa’ khichdi.

Other staples that you can munch on and enjoy during these nine fabulous nights are:

Sweet Potato: Low in starch and rich in fibre plus vitamins, it is a better choice than your regular aloo. You can prepare a healthy chaat with sprouts. If you want rich taste have it like a tikki or pattice.

Sonth ki chutney: Made of dried ginger powder, sweet tamarind paste and a little bit of saunf, it is ideal with tikki and pattices.

Dry fruits: With all the essential nutrients that you need for your wellbeing, it is a better choice for midday snack than a packaged upwas ka chivda or farsan.

Pumpkin(Kaddu): Prepare delicious sabzi, sweets, steamed dhoklas which are both filling and an excellent source of fiber, iron, Vitamins A, C and E, and other nutrients. Kaddu is also good for your eyes.

Raita: Made from yoghurt, this probiotic dish is full of nutrients, protein and calcium. Try pomegranate, veggie, palak or even makhane raita.

Fruits: Papaya, pears, apples bananas…full of goodness for you. So, come on go ahead, pick up that fruits. Gods will be happy.

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