The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated every year in the month of January. Along with it’s religious significance, this festival is also known to have a variety of health benefits.
Makar Sankranti is also known as ‘Khichdi Parv’ since one of the important dishes prepared during this festival is our good old Khichdi.
While the festival of Sankranti has religious significance, the ingredients of the special meal on that day keep us healthy and fit during the cold winter months.
The main dish, Khichdi, can be prepared in a variety of ways. For example, my mother prepares it with urad daal or black lentils and rice and adds some vegetables like potatoes, peas. Alternately, some may prefer to prepare a dry, no daal version of khichdi.
As a superfood, khichdi does not only provide nutrition, but its ingredients also generate heat in our bodies and provide protection against infections and diseases.
Khichdi: Easy to Cook, Eat & Digest
Talking about the health benefits of khichdi, nutritionist Kavita Devgan said that it can easily be digested so our bodies don’t have to work hard to digest it. It is also hydrating and nutritious as it contains less fat, high fibre, essential vitamins and minerals.
You can get about 400 calories of energy from two cups of cooked khichdi (approx 250 gms). Khichdi with curd is not only a healthy combination, but it also keep you full for a longer time. It gives you about 500 calories of energy with a good balance of nutrients.Kavita Devgan, Nutritionist
Khichdi is an easy to prepare dish that also fulfills your body’s protein needs.
Til (Sesame) & Gud (Jaggery) Laddus
Laddus made from til or sesame seeds and gud or jaggery are also an important part of the Makar Sankranti meal. The mixture of black and white sesame seeds, flour, ramdana or amaranth and certain millets is also a great healthy snack for winters.
Kavita Devgan explains that the laddus contain powerful antioxidants and a balanced amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Sesame seeds are known to provide protection against heart diseases. The vitamin B content present in them is great for the skin while they can also be helpful in preventing diseases like diabetes.Kavita Devgan
These laddus contain a good amount of calcium and an omega-6 fatty acid called linolenic acid, which balances the good and bad cholesterol in our bodies.
Sesame seeds also contain two special types of Lignin compounds: sesamin and sesamolin. These compounds have been found to be effective against cholesterol and high blood pressure.Kavita Devgan
Jaggery Builds Your Immunity
Gud or jaggery is full of iron content which helps pump more oxygen in the blood and also strengthens the body’s immune system.
Include small amounts of jaggery into your daily diet to strengthen your immunity. It will also keep your body warm in winters and fight against infections.Huda Shaikh, Dietitian & Nutritionist
So this Makar Sankranti, treat your body with a healthy bowl of khichdi!