It’s summer time and hydration is important. But how about making your beverage a vessel for focused nutrition too.
Trust me that’s a smart idea for two reasons: first you can score a concentrated dose of nutrients and greater well being, and second you can ensure focused health benefits too.
Here’s my list of 5 beverages that are underrated still, and how and why we must add them more to our diet.
Turmeric Tea to Boost Brain Health
Turmeric tea is full of health benefits. Curcumin, a component of turmeric is the protective agent here. It supports better memory, focus and cognition by increasing the growth of new neurons and fighting various degenerative processes in the brain.
Tea is a lesser known but a great way to reap the health benefits of the wonder spice turmeric. To make turmeric tea, you can boil water, add ground turmeric, simmer for a few minutes, strain, add a pinch of black pepper and some honey or maple syrup.
Curcumin is a cancer slayer too. It is effective in killing cancer cells and may even help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place too.
Miso Soup to Boost the Immunity
Miso made from fermented soybeans is a complete protein (meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids that our body needs from the diet). It contains “good” bacteria for a healthy gut and when our inner ecosystem is healthy and full of friendly microflora, our immunity gets a huge boost.
Linoleic acid and saponin, both natural chemical compounds found in miso, are known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Beetroot Juice for a Happy Heart
There’s a lot going for beetroot. This vegetable with a mellow, earthy taste besides being nil fat and low in calories (200 gm provides only 85 calories), also delivers magnesium, calcium and iron.
A glass of beetroot juice a day, thanks to its high nitrate content (which gets converted to nitric oxide in the body and help relax and dilate your blood vessels) helps to significantly lower your blood pressure.
Plus it is rich in antioxidant ‘betaine’, which has anti-inflammatory properties and keeps cholesterol levels in control. So drinking a glass of this red delight everyday is your perfect ’take care of your heart’ solution.
Beetroot is a happy food. Betaine (used in fact in some depression medications), and tryptophan in beets help relax and make us feel happier.
Kanji for a Healthy Gut
This fermented drink made from black carrots helps put the balance of good versus bad bacteria back in order by helping the good bugs increase in number in the intestines.
Good bugs help us digest the food, absorb micro nutrients like the Vitamin B and Vitamin K better, and assist our digestive enzymes to help them work better.
Anthocyanins in kanji are proven anti-cancer compounds and also have strong anti-inflammatory and eye health protecting qualities.
Spinach Juice for Strong Bones
Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods we have. And is tailor-made for boosting our bone health.
It’s the richest source of bone essential vitamin K (after Kale); vitamin K1 in it keeps osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone) tamed. Once K1 is converted by friendly bacteria in our intestines to vitamin K2, it activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone, which anchors calcium molecules inside the bone.
Besides vitamin K, spinach also has good amounts of calcium and magnesium - other bone-supportive nutrients.
Spinach contains plant based steroids called phytoecdysteroids, which dramatically increase glucose metabolism in the body to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
(The author is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).