This 7 part herb, nut and fruit series gives you a way to slide these health gems into your week with minimum effort. What better way to keep the doctor away?
All 3 foods in the spotlight today, share a rich repertoire of vitamins and minerals. They do us the honour of being anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-cancerous and anti-oxidants. If they aren’t already part of your regular diet, you have some tweaking to do. Let me convince you why and how…
Herb in Focus: Cumin (Jeera)
This delightful spice is a household name in all Indian kitchens. I doubt there exists even a single home in India that doesn’t have jeera. The reason is all it’s time-tested therapeutic, aromatic and gustatory properties:
- excellent source of iron
- aids digestion- takes away a gassy, bloated feeling
- boosts the immune system
- helps in wound healing
- helps in lactation
- acts as dietary fibre
If you aren’t already convinced about the wonder this herb is; read on for some lesser known but powerful facts about Jeera/ Cumin seeds:
- anti-carcinogenic, especially against colon and breast cancers
- skin protective, aids hair growth and lustre, treats dandruff.
- helps in losing weight
- maintains kidney health
- prevents osteoporosis-jeera is a good source of calcium
- cures insomia
- anti-toxic and anti-hepatotoxic- so it protects the liver too
- they contain a variety of chemical compounds including vitamins, proteins, minerals, fatty acids- all essential to maintain a healthy body.
How to Jeera
Digestive Decoction: To a litre of water, add two tablespoons of jeera and allow it to boil for 4 – 5 minutes. Allow the water to boil until the quantity reduces to about 800ml. Let it cool for some time before you strain the solution. Store it in a clean bottle and drink throughout the day. Make sure you drink it slightly warm. For added benefit, you may add a 1-inch piece of ginger and a teaspoon of Bishop’s weed (Ajwain). This decoction is great for tummy troubles after fatty, rich food or a stomach bug.
Nut in the spot: Walnut
Walnuts are a power-packed food that you simply must incorporate into your diet.
Here is what they do:
- improve heart function
- boost bone health
- improve metabolism
- control diabetis
- prevent cancer
- reduce inflammation
- work as an astringent
- act as an anti-viral, anti-parasitic, fungicide, laxative and purgative
- stimulates neuronal/ brain activity
Additionally walnuts also help
- keep the skin healthy
- regulate sleep
- maintain weight
- boost mood
So when you’re low on energy and good spirits, just pop some walnuts in and drive those blues away!
How to Walnut:
Dessert: For a heart-healthy dessert, dip walnut halves in melted dark chocolate and let it cool and harden. Relish the blended taste of nut and cocoa!
As a topping: Sprinkle two tablespoons of finely chopped walnuts over a dish of yogurt or fruit for a naturally sweet dessert, snack or breakfast. The same could be done with crushed walnuts over mashed cauliflower. Make a breakfast bowl of cooked oatmeal topped with chopped walnuts and yogurt. Garnish a fresh salad with walnuts and savour the crunchy goodness of this power nut. If this is all too much trouble; simply keep a jar of walnuts on your desk to snack on throughout the day. I guarantee you they won’t last long 😉
Fruit of interest: Papaya
Also called the fruit of angels, papaya is a fruit of many talents!
Here are some of them:
- reduces heart disease, diabetes, digestion issues, hypertension and macular degeneration.
- treats constipation
- protects against kidney diseases
- acts against worms (anti-helminths) For more on how to flush out worms and parasites from your system, check here
As if this wasn’t already enough, papaya has more benefits:
- prevents skin cancer-purifies skin, removes dead cells
- promotes hair growth and vitality thanks to its high content of Vitamin A
- its high Vitamin K content augments bone health and increases calcium absorption
- prevents motion sickness
- used in menstrual irregularities
- helps in toothache
- papaya leaves increase platelet counts and hence are a commonly used home remedy in Dengue fevers
- CAUTION- Papaya must be avoided in pregnancy as it can act like an abortificant.
How to Papaya:
Papaya can be eaten raw, sliced in half, with the seeds scooped out. You will want to add a little squeeze of lemon to enhance the flavor.
The seeds are slightly spicy and can be used as a pepper substitute in salad dressings and other sauces. Papaya is amazing in a smoothie to start the day right.
Tropical Papaya kick: Use half a deseeded papaya and 2 bananas. Blend well with coconut milk to desired consistency and treat yourself to a power jammed tropical drink!
Deep Cleansing Papaya Face Mask: Blend a few chunks of soft ripe papaya into a lump-free puree. Add 1 tbsp honey and 1/2 tsp lemon juice and mix well. Apply the face mask onto your clean face and let it dry for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water by gently scrubbing. Do a final rinse with cold water.