Hard pressed for time to cook elaborate and healthy meals for the family? Yet the need of the hour is a bowl of nutrients to keep ailments at bay. Green powders come in handy during such spells. The lack of time or resources to prepare nourishing food with vegetables and lentils need not be compromised, as superfood powders like moringa, tomato, bitter gourd, tamarind/coconut rice powders and others come in as handy substitutes.
What are superfood powders
Vegetable and fruit powders are specific organic food which are dried naturally or at low temperatures. These are known to be full of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. They can be added to enhance the taste of your food and smoothies
Dehydrated vegetables are finely ground into powders and stored for future use and convenience. They can be either pure or combined with spices and other ingredients to lend flavour and taste. These powders hold most of the micronutrients, minerals and antioxidants depending on the variety of greens used and is a fitting backup during exigencies. “Since ages, herbs, leafy and other vegetables or dals are sun-dried or dry roasted on low flame before being ground into fine powders or ‘rice podis’ in Tamilian homes. These podis are mixed in hot rice with a spoonful of ghee for a quick, tasty, natural and chemical-free meal,” reveals Shravani Raj of Shree Shakti Enterprises adding, “popular ones are paruppu or dal podi, puliyogarai (tamarind and spices) and coconut rice podi that is blended with methi, urad dal, chilli and curry leaves to enhance the flavour.”
“While antibiotic and antibacterial properties comprising moringa powder is packed with minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and treats stomach disorders, bitter gourd is excellent for reducing blood sugar, cholesterol, with cancer-fighting properties,” informs Clinical Nutritionist and Dietitian Jinal Savla.
Lycopene-filled tomato, beetroot rich in potassium along with folic acid, vitamins; proteins laden broccoli, or the green algae spirulina (improves gut health, improves metabolism, reduces BP and prevents heart disease) and other powders are becoming favourites among health enthusiasts. Some of them are pure while some are combined with other ingredients like spices or lentils to complement flavours. Sprinkled on smoothies, yoghurts, baked stuff or just had with piping hot rice and ghee – it’s an easy and quick access to their goodness.
“Vegetables in store-bought powders are either freeze-dried or cold-pressed. It is necessary to ensure that they are organic and preservative-free,” affirms Jinal Savla.
Turmeric powder relieves joint pains and inflammations. Sriram Iyer’s suggestion of an immuno-boosting drink is, “Combine moringa powder in hot water, add it to turmeric milk and coconut sugar for a delicious latte to shield liver, kidneys, heart and lungs from infections.”
Bee pollen for vigour
Heard of bee pollen? It’s yet another unique superfood powder that can be sprinkled on salads, muesli, yogurt, smoothies or juices for that high to face a demanding day ahead or before a rigorous fitness routine. Sriram Iyer, Founder, Theo Organics, throws light on it, “Bee pollen is the product of buzzing bees collecting pollen dust from flowers to blend it with nectar along with their own secretions. Since this is made as the food source for their young ones, it bursts with proteins, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Preferred by athletes and sportspersons, if ingested regularly, it is also known to alleviate seasonal allergens.”
Since our intake of fresh fruits and veggies is less than the recommended quantity, including green superfood powders is considered as a supplement to our daily quota of nutrients. However, they cannot replace fresh, wholesome veggies or cooked dals on an every-day basis. Rashida Vapiwala, food label specialist, and Founder at LabelBlind, breaks the myth that they are magic pills, “Green superfood powders may seem very exciting, easy, convenient. However, they are no match for the benefits that fresh ones provide our body. Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and cooked lentils are a source of water, fibre, enzymes, prebiotics that help our satiety, digestion, gut and metabolic health.”
It is advisable to use food powders only as an occasional substitute to wholesome vegetables and fruits. Recommended to have these as a side to your regular meal. “We don’t really need superfood powders if we have our daily share of fresh fruits and vegetables. A variety in our daily consumption of fruits and vegetables ensures that we will obtain the necessary nutrients required to keep ourselves fit and healthy. A balanced diet is the cornerstone of good health and superfood powders can supplement the same, not replace it,” concludes Rashida Vapiwala!