Sure, fruits and vegetables are the pillars of good health. But at times we all need that extra something to boost our diet. No, we’re not talking about food supplements. Rather, this is a case for powerful powders, which when made a part of your daily fare, can detox, provide essential nutrients, and energize you—all in a delightfully scrumptious manner. So here is our list of five super potent, expert-approved flours and powders to help you along.
Made from green bananas, banana flour has long been used in Africa and some parts of the Caribbean as a cheap alternative for wheat flour. And rightly so: this gluten-free flour also promotes weight loss and is great for diabetics. “Banana flour is a wonderful source of vitamin E, zinc, potassium, fibre, and magnesium,” says dietitian Jasleen Kaur, founder of the Delhi-based Just Diet Clinic. “It also lowers cholesterol and keeps hypertension in check,” she adds. So how can you bask in the benefits of this heart-friendly flour? Well, you can make banana flour cookies, cakes, pancakes, and even chapattis. Just substitute banana flour of atta and maida in your recipes, and you’ll be golden.
This foreign-sounding powder is actually derived from the seeds and leaves of the Moringa oleifera plant, popularly known in India as drumstick. Yes, the fibrous vegetable we’ve all encountered in sambar, amongst other delicacies. A 2016 study in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness states that thanks to the phytochemicals present in the leaves, pods, and seeds of moringa, it can provide “…7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 10 times more vitamin A than carrots, 17 times more calcium than milk, 9 times more protein than yoghurt, 15 times more potassium than bananas and 25 times more iron than spinach.” Moreover, moringa also reduces liver damage and fights inflammation, adds Kaur. You can add some moringa powder to your soups and lentils; or make moringa powder tea with the aid of a coffee machine.
You’ve probably seen amaranth flour on the shelves at your local departmental store. That’s mostly because amaranth, or ramdana as it is colloquially known, has been around for a while—hiding in the shadows, letting other foods steal the show. But not anymore! A great bet for those suffering from celiac disease, this gluten-free flour is also bursting with calcium, claims Kaur. Moreover, studies have also found that amaranth has the highest amount of protein as compared to other grains, and is also rich in dietary fibre and iron. Ditch wheat for amaranth, and you can fulfil half of your daily nutritional quota with your daily roti.
Before you go about mistaking cacao for cocoa, let us tell you: cacao powder is derived by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans. When raw cacao is roasted at a high temperature, you get cocoa powder—which loses some of its nutritional capacity along the way. “Cacao powder is bursting with iron, and works wonders for the heart and brain,” says Kaur. In fact, cacao contains more antioxidants than cocoa and chocolate—thus, making it the healthier choice. Easily available at health stores, don’t forget to include cacao powder in your smoothie, cookies, porridge, and other recipes for a bittersweet punch of health.
Maca Root Powder
Indigenous to the mountains of Peru, Maca is a terrific source of antioxidants and is considered a potent superfood. While getting your hands on fresh maca root in India can be a difficult feat, you can try the next best thing: maca root powder. “Maca root powder boasts of high quantities of iron, vitamin C, and protein; while being low on fat,” elaborates Kaur. Apart from supplying some essential nutrients to the body, maca powder can also help you lose weight. Plus, it’s a tasty addition to smoothies and no-bake sweets.
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