New year, new superfoods, from dahi to basil seeds

Ruhi Gilder
Wellness has been high on our minds and New Year resolutions for a while now. As we try to stick to New Year’s fitness and diet-related resolutions, it makes sense to include superfoods in our diet. To highlight the ingredients set to take over kitchens in 2022, LuxeBook speaks to Celebrity Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant, Neha Sahaya.  
The wellness guru defines superfoods as, “… foods that are nutrient dense and offer multiple health benefits.” While previous years have seen ingredients such avocado and kale reign supreme, Sahaya suggests a list of nutritious foods that are easily available and locally grown to maximise health benefits and minimise impact on the environment. Chock full of antioxidants, fibre and fatty acids, check out these seven superfoods that are ready to shine in 2022.  
A classic ingredient that finds its way into Indian gift hampers during the festive season and gets used as a topping on various dishes, walnuts have been part of the human diet approximately since 7000 BC. They are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and a plant source of omega 3, an element that is largely found in fish. Walnuts also decrease inflammation in the body and improve gut health. 
Photo Courtesy: Larisa Birta / Unsplash
Eat it: Snack on walnuts between meetings or while you are on-the-go. The crunchy nut also makes for a great topping for salads and is pairs well with chocolate in desserts. Walnut oil is also a great way to imbibe its benefits and can be used for cooking. 
Plant-based meat 
A trend predicted to grow in 2022 is plant-based meat. Consumers opting for plant-based, vegan diets is increasing, and this sort of diet is said to be better for the climate and animals. These products can be made using soy, beans, pulses, legumes, wheat and potatoes. Even Bollywood couple Genelia D’Souza and Riteish Deshmukh have launched a vegan brand ‘Imagine Meats’.  
Photo Courtesy: Imagine Meats
Photo Courtesy: Imagine Meats
Eat it: Embrace protein-rich plant-based meats in your diet as you would actual meat. Put in in a burger, eat it as meatballs or make a sandwich.  
Enhancing gut health with fermented food is another trend set to grow in the coming year. Strong immunity is directly related to good gut health, making this an important part of one’s health regime. There is no better way to benefit from this than with traditional homemade dahi. A staple in every Indian home, curd is a probiotic that aids digestion, is rich in calcium and phosphorous. 
Photo Courtesy: Mario Raj / Unsplash
Eat it: Eat curd as a condiment with your everyday meals, turn it into a herb-filled dip to snack on with carrots and cucumber or drink it as buttermilk. Add curd to your smoothie as a thickening agent in a smoothie that is piled with fruits.  
The Indian version of quinoa, amaranth is nutrient-heavy and contains more vitamins and minerals than refined grains. This superfood is an ancient grain that is packed with manganese required for brain function, magnesium that is used for DNA synthesis and phosphorous, an element important for bone health.  
Eat it: Amaranth is versatile and can be made into rotis and added to your daily porridge. Substitute a helping of white rice with amaranth or mix it into soups and salads.  
Sabja (basil) seeds 
Basil seeds, also known as sabja or tukmaria or basil seeds, are round black seeds that look similar to chia seeds. They have a cooling effect on the body and take care of constipation and acidity. Basil seeds have a history of being used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine and are protein-rich, replete with essential fats, fibre.  
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Eat it: Best consumed after soaking in water, one can also add them in various drinks like kokum ka paani, coconut water or in falooda. Soaked seeds can also be used as a topping for smoothies, yogurt, puddings, and oatmeal.  
Amla (Indian gooseberry) 
High levels of vitamin C in amla increases collagen production, thereby promoting healthy skin. Indian gooseberry is an immunity-boosting ingredient, making it especially useful in the time of the pandemic. Polyphenols like flavonoids are also present in the fruit, and research has shown that they can help manage blood pressure levels and have anti-inflammatory effects.  
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Eat it: The ideal way to get the most out of amla is to juice it and have as a shot first thing in the morning. It can also be eaten raw or pickled and is primarily available during the winter season.  
Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) 
The root herb is popular in Ayurvedic medicine and has been classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help the body manage stress. Recently, ashwagandha has risen in popularity because of its immunity-boosting and antibacterial properties. It is believed to combat anxiety, stress and improve sleep quality by suppressing cortisol hormones in the body.  
Eat it: Mostly ashwagandha is taken in the form of a capsule, tablet or powder.  
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