Nutritional fads & facts

Nutritional fads & facts

It's time our diet went local and we chose homegrown produce that's rich in its nutrient value, writes Dr Shireen

Going local may be the need of the hour not only because Covid-19 has pushed for the cause of self-sustenance but also because the economically priced local-produce outshines the rest.

Even as our diet, in general, is governed by the fads of the western world, our options could be healthy but do you know that there are equally meritorious local variants available? Here are a few substitutes that are much better than the exported variety, are easily available in India and are much cheaper too.

Quinoa: It’s a gluten-free pseudo-cereal with high protein content (8.14gm/cup), fibre (5.18gm) and is a rich source of Iron, Zinc and Magnesium. Cost: Rs 300 for 500gms.

Amaranth: A local alternative with slightly higher protein content (9.3gm/cup) and similar carbohydrate, fibre (7gm), amino acids and twice the amount of iron. Cost: Rs 220 for 500gms.

Matcha Tea: After overtaking the market share of cosmetics, food industry, and essential oils, Matcha tea, with its high theanine and caffeine content, also has reduced flavonoids which give it its umami flavour. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins and micronutrients. Cost: Rs 350-550 for 100gms.

Moringa: Derived from dried ground moringa leaves, it is the closest contender to Matcha. It provides high levels of Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron comparable to Matcha. It’s the only known plant product containing 17 amino acids and all 9 essential amino acids. Cost: Rs 200-250 for 100 grams.

Whey protein: The body can absorb 13-16 grams of protein at a time and companies promising 35-50 grams per scoop are just fooling you. Split the scoop throughout the day for better absorption. Cost:1,000-2,000 for 1kg

Sattu: The renowned summer cooler is our protein-packed (20 grams of protein /100gm) gut cleansing local opponent to whey. Its low GI Index is a boon for diabetic individuals as well as consumers interested in weight management. High magnesium and calcium found in sattu is essential for bone health. Thus, if essentially you are not a professional athlete, sattu can be an ideal replacement for your regular workouts. So two tablespoons (25gms) provide 5grams of protein. Cost: Rs 225 for 1kg.

Chia seeds: This has an alternative in local Sabja/Alsi/Flax seeds. Both are good sources of fibre. While flax seeds have a higher level of antioxidants, proteins and omega 3, Chia contains more calcium and phosphorous. Cost: Rs 400 for 500gms (Chia) Rs 190 for 500gms (Flax).

Couscous & daliya are by-products of wheat. Daliya is finely broken wheat and is non-refined. Couscous is a further refined product. Keep in mind that both are not gluten-free especially for individuals with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. One cup of daliya contains protein (7.14gm), fibre (11.9) and other micronutrients. Couscous contains proteins (6gm), fibre (2.2) however, it has a higher Glycemic Index (GI) 65 compared to daliya (48). Couscous, which is widely available in the market, is primarily refined carbohydrates and healthier than the pasta variants but not as healthy like amaranth. Couscous: Rs 250-400 (500gm) Daliya: Rs 50 (500gm)

If you are eating these products for the fad then it's time you take a reality check.