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Healthy Cooking

A to Z of Healthy Food

Apple: As basic as it may sound, an apple provides you with 13 minerals that you require daily. A simple mix of apple, walnuts and yoghurt makes for a great breakfast to start your day.

Broccoli: The vilayati version of cauliflower is now readily available all over our city. Make good use of it. In a recent survey of greens, broccoli was found to be the healthiest, since it is a powerful anti-carcinogen.

Cucumber: As chilly as winter is, in Mumbai it’s a very short season before it starts simmering again. Don’t forget to chomp on this refreshing veggie come April. Because April as they say is the cruellest month.

Dudhi (melon) : is known to reduce blood pressure. Incorporate dudhi as part of your cuisine to lower your blood pressure, for a healthier heart in general, to lower cholesterol, and many other benefits. You can use it as a sabzi, or in a raita, or even as a juice.

Egg white : Make it a habit to remove the yolk, since egg whites are a great source of protein. Egg white omelettes are slowly becoming the norm for those who like their breakfasts to be substantial.

Fanas (Jack fruit) : Jackfruit seeds are a very tasty and nutritious snack. Boiled Jackfruit seeds can be used as an alternative to potatoes. Jackfruit seeds, roasted and eaten. It is a rich source of complex carbohydrate, dietary fiber, vitamins like vitamin A, C and certain B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorous.

Garlic: There are way too many health benefits (documented and debated) to not include garlic in this list. Just don’t have it as part of pizza or another Bombay favourite: garlic bread.

Home-grown sprouts : Sprouts while available in the local grocery, are a much healthier option to grow at home. It’s easy to make these at home (soak them overnight), and they makes for a quick tasty snack either in chaats, or raitas, or salads of your choice.

Iceberg lettuce : Another designer food item that is becoming readily available. This one is great to make salads with at home. Mix with tofu, sprouts, tomatoes, chicken and fat-free yoghurt to get you through the day.

Juice blender : Choose a juice of choice for the year. It could be anything you want. But make sure you make it at home. Most bottled juices come with lots of sugar and preservatives (even if they pretend they don’t). Invest in a juice blender.

Karela : As bitter and unappetising as it may sound, the health benefits of this desi veggie far outweigh its sharp taste. It regularises blood sugar, aside from a range of other ailments. Figure out a cool way of making it than your bai does, and you’ll do good this year.

Lemon : Sprinkle your food with lots of lemon. It’s got lots of Vitamin C that you need to boost your immune system. Besides, by replacing lemon with salt as a condiment for your meals, you’re helping your heart in more ways than one.

Milk (but skimmed) : Okay, there’s no way we’ve been able to escape milk; it’s too ingrained in our culture. So go for it, enjoy your milk, but get a bottle of skimmed milk. Also lots of soy milk brands are available now. See what suits your type.

Nuts : Nuts reduce coronary heart disease. Almonds and walnuts lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Dieticians frequently recommend nuts to diabetes patients with insulin resistance. And those who eat nuts live two to three years longer than those who don’t. So are you nuts, to not get it? Stock up on these…

Olive Oil : is clearly the healthiest option to the necessary evil that is oil. Its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of anti-oxidants make it the best alternative. It’ll increase your grocery bills though, but consider it a medical cost.

Peas : Green peas provide good amounts of eight vitamins, seven minerals, dietary fiber and protein. In addition, they are a good source of Vitamin K1, which activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Need we say more? Don’t complain about joint pains this winter. Stock up on your peas

Quality Fruit : The prices of fruits have gone over the top. However, fruits are known to be some of the best anti-oxidants, are a great source of fibre and nutrients. Once a week, you should stock up your fridge with quality fruits. Berries, apples, bananas, even the tomato. But since these have to be eaten fresh, make sure you maintain quality control.

Red Cabbage : Your kids may cringe at the sight of regular cabbage. But the flamboyant red cabbage might convince them. Also a source of Indole-3-carbinole (I3C), which reducing the risk of breast cancer by 50%.

Strawberries : help prevent cancer. They also bring out the flavour in champagne. Cheers.

Tea : Another desi habit we can’t give up. So why not substitute chai with green tea or black tea. Regular use is known to strengthen bone and cure osteoporosis. And no sugar, puh-leeeze!

Ud-ruck : Sorry but G was taken by Garlic. But ginger (adrak) is essential to your health.

Varan-bhat : Simplicity is a virtue. Amidst your hectic socialising and gourmet fantasies, normal ghar ka khana once a day will do wonders for your health. Trust us.

Walnuts : Walnuts reduce the risk of prostrate cancer in men, as also do tomatoes (but T was, again, taken by tea). Crush them in an apple salad we’ve mentioned in A (which is for Apple)

X : if you find a health food item starting with X, you’re a star. Contact us.

Yoghurt : Again is a great source of calcium, aids digestion, and can be merged with a range of salads, health food items, marinades. Always keep a bowl of fresh, homemade yoghurt handy in your fridge.

Zucchini : This Italian kakadi is low in calories and contains a high amount of folate, potassium, Vitamin A and manganese. Z though is also for zinc. So don’t forget to stack up on your spinach, lentils, and salmon.