Seeds of health

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Time and again, I am bought into the idea of super foods that I diligently attempt to include in my family’s everyday diet. I make sure to stock my kitchen pantry with green tea, oatmeal, quinoa, walnuts etc. and my refrigerator with avocado, greens and berries, just to list a few. Off late, the bandwagon is joined by 2 newcomers in the form of seeds

  1. Flax seed
  2. Chia seed

The numerous health benefits that these two ingredients have is quite too often discussed with regard in the food world. Chia seeds, indigenous to South America, are loaded with fiber, protein and Omega -3 fatty acids. They are also high in vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous that are essential for bone health. They are usually grown organically and are naturally free of gluten. Due to high levels of fiber and protein content, these seeds are highly recommended in weight loss programs. They are believed to control high blood pressure as well as blood sugar given their antioxidant property. It is only befitting for ‘Chia’ to mean strength in ancient Mayan.

Flax seeds, believed to be native to Egypt, have omega 3 fatty acids that helps in healthy glowing skin. It is also high in fiber content which helps improve digestive health or remove constipation. Its high anti-oxidant qualities is supposed to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Consumption of flax seed also helps in moderate regulation of blood sugar level. It is believed to fight many types of cancer, including breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer. Its high fiber-low carbohydrate combination is an excellent recipe to combat weight gain. Flax seed is best absorbed in ground form as it is easier to digest.

I find ways to incorporate these ingredients in my everyday meal, by sprinkling a table spoon or two of these to most food items, be it salads, soups, side dishes, dosa batter, chapatti dough or rice dishes. They make for excellent ingredients in baked goodies too. The addition of small quantities of these seeds do not bring a noticeable variation to the taste or texture of food as they do not possess any peculiar smell or taste. These seeds find their way in smoothies, cereals and yogurt on a fairly regular basis. Chia seeds, when soaked, become tiny, slimy globules with interesting texture that qualifies for a perfect condiment in refreshing drinks.

Using these in moderation and discretion is a key reminder to maintain balance of nutrient intake. Anything, including super foods if consumed in excess is rather toxic to the body than beneficial. Add these ingredients in creative ways to your daily cooking to reap full benefits. There is no effort required or time wasted in finding unusual and complicated recipes.

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Chia seeds
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Flax seed powder

My husband’s bulging waistline continues to make a mockery of my culinary efforts. I don’t give up. Like an invincible warrior on a single-minded pursuit, I patiently wait for the day when my seedy adventures proudly stand testimony for a naturally flat belly, not sucked in as seen in photos 🙂

Tea

                        ‘Tea’naciously Green

If memory serves me right, I took the first sip of green tea about 7 years back at my friend’s house, and it stayed with me as a habit since then. In the earlier days, I made a conscious effort to have it as part of my daily routine, especially in winters. This practice of mine ensued from the awareness of numerous health benefits from all kinds of media, that this simple drink had to offer. Soon enough:

  • I envisioned my centenarian self a few decades from now, who would dedicate the secret of her prolonged life span to the super food called the ‘Green Tea’. I might even enter the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for the oldest woman alive!
  • I also started dreaming of shedding pounds from around my never-budging and ever-bulging waistline, because green tea is supposed to be a great fat burner and it even improves metabolism. In reality, my sunken cheeks are true testimonials to its fat burning abilities!!
  • I imagined myself disease free forever sans diabetes and hypertension, thanks to the antioxidants in the green tea that would put up a fight befitting a warrior, to prevent cell damage…Yay!

I also realized not too late that you really don’t care about the benefits or the glorified stories of any food when it is part of your life, like your family members 🙂 I am glad to notice that it has taken a place in the hearts of my 17-year old as well as my husband. I for one, savor green tea not for any  specific intent, but for its refreshing aroma and earthy tone. It connects me to the basics, and reminds me where I come from.  It has an unassuming quality with only goodness to offer.  I also like green tea for the fact that it is light in the stomach, almost like water.

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Green tea is simple to make. Fill three-fourth of a kettle with water. Bring the water to a boil. Switch off the flame. Add 2 teaspoons of green tea leaves or couple of tea bags, and let it steep for about 5 minutes. And voila, it is ready! Pour it in a cup and drink warm. One kettle would suffice for an entire day. It can be consumed just as is or with honey and lemon if you want added taste. If you like it cold, add ice cubes. I like mine simple and warm.

Green tea comes in all kinds of flavors, from just plain to simple lemon to a combination of fruit and flower flavors with exotic names! You can find a wide variety of them at most superstores,  covering an entire spectrum of texture, flavor and price; it is an empire in its own right!

On this cold winter day, I am at the beckoning of this warm and soothing beverage sitting on my kitchen counter!  Next time you are offered a cup of green tea, see if you reach for it with a gleam in your eyes  🙂