Keep your cool with sabja

Keep your cool with sabja

Keep your cool with sabja

No, just guzzling cold juices will not suffice for the sizzling summer months. What we require is an ingredient that can seal in the hydration and bring down the body temperature. In Ayurveda parlance, this translates to a balance of the pitta element. Ayurveda recommends sabja, or kamkasturi or sweet basil seeds, to keep us fresh through the hot, dry months.

The tiny, black, tear-drop shaped seeds have a coat that readily absorbs water. When soaked, they swell up into a gelatinous mass - hydrogel - covering the seed, which locks in the moisture along with the nutrients.

One to two teaspoons of sabja can be used regularly for its cooling benefits. However, pregnant women should refrain from consuming them, as the seeds have emmenagogue properties, which affect oestrogen levels and can induce pelvic contractions.

You can add milk, honey or sugar to the hydrogel and consume it directly or add a spoonful of sabja to milk, fruit juices, buttermilk, ice creams or smoothies.

Repository of nutrients

* Sabja is dense in nutrients and antioxidants, in addition to having many of the therapeutic qualities of basil.

* Sabja's ability to soak up water - nearly four times its dry weight - helps in combating excessive sweating and dehydration; while abundant amounts of vitamins A, K, B6 and E, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron ensures nutrition and electrolyte balance.

* The mucilage (gel) the macronutrients available in the seeds; studies indicate the high fibre and mucilage helps in regulating the carbohydrate metabolism, providing a steady source of energy through the day.

* The mucilage also prevents the inflammation of the gut lining keeping gastric bouts and ulcers - which arise due to the heat - at bay.