Whether you kicked off your health kick on January 1st or you are a seasoned wellness warrior, chances are you share my woe: the lack of Whole Foods (or any health store of that caliber) in India. With various products like sprouted bread and high-protein ice cream popping up on the shelves and into the freezers of grocery stores in the West, there leaves plenty to be desired for us living in India. Oh how much easier it would be to eat healthy if we had such innovative healthy options available! Fortunately we do have a huge variety available to us. The only difference is that they aren't marketed as being 'healthy' or covered in buzzwords like 'paleo-friendly' or 'vegan'. If you want to nourish your body, look no further than your local grocer:
Nariyal Pani (aka Coconut water): Put down the sugar-filled energy drink and instead load up on coconut water for instant hydration. Especially as it is filled with potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, and calcium. Sipping on coconut water will help replenish electrolytes lost from your body during a workout and/or in warmer temperatures.
Haldi (aka turmeric):Commonly used in Indian cooking, this spice boasts a number of health benefits including diabetes control, arthritis relief and protection against certain liver diseases.
Alsi (aka flaxseed): Due to its content of omega 3 essential fatty acids, consuming one tablespoon of flaxseeds daily can help boost heart health. Its omega 3 content can also help reduce inflammation within the body. To reap the benefits of this superfood, be sure to consume flaxseeds in ground form rather than whole. Whereas whole flaxseed tends to get passed through the body, ground flaxseed is easier for the body to digest.
Besan Flour (aka chickpea or gram flour): Open up your pantry and chances are you will have a packet of besan flour tucked away. Made from ground chickpeas, besan flour is naturally higher in protein than wheat-based flours: ½ up contains 10g of protein whereas the same amount of wheat flour racks-in 8g of protein. Although red meat is often associated with iron, besan flour contains that mineral, along with magnesium and phosphorus.
Ghee (aka clarified butter): Modern scientists in the West are now saying what our grandmothers have preached for decades. Although feared as a high-fat food, ghee provides a hefty dose of antioxidants including carotenoids and vitamins A & E. These antioxidants fight free radicals and promote skin cell growth, good vision and immune system health, and also reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. As the method of clarifying butter into ghee removes the lactose and casein content, those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy ghee without suffering any adverse reactions.
While India may not be currently full of trendy health stores, it still remains to be quite the goldmine when it comes to healthy options. Happy shopping!