This Navratri, add colors to your plate.
Navratri, the 9-day-long festival, is around the corner, and we are as excited about it as you are. Like other festivals of India, Navratri is equally fun, joyous, and colorful. People across the country have different celebrations, but one of the most exciting things about Navratri is delicious food. While enough has been said and written about the different meals of the 9 days, we are focusing on how you can fill your platter with colorful and healthy meals. Yes, you read it right. We are set to dive into the energetic festival with a platter full of healthy and colorful food.
As all the 9 colors of Navratri are important and signify certain values which takes us to the path of humanity and fill our hearts with love, let us see how we can fill our plates with all the wonderful foods of different colors which are delicious, nutritious and take us to the path of good health.
Most red fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that help reduce developing heart diseases like atherosclerosis, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Antioxidants also lower the risk of developing various cancer, including prostate cancer, and improve brain function. Additionally, antioxidants wipe away free radicals from the body cells and prevent damage caused by oxidation.
Some of the red Vegetables that you can have any time are tomatoes, beets, radishes, and red cabbage. Meanwhile, for fruits, the options are many. Red grapes, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and red apples are some of the many that are rich in antioxidants.
For a filling meal, you can always add red rice to your diet. Red rice is rich in anthocyanin and offers numerous health benefits. It helps lower blood glucose, fights lung disorders, promotes healthy bones, and aids in weight management.
The one color that is easily visible on the Indian platter is yellow. Be it dal, curries, fruits, or vegetables, yellow color holds a special place in our daily diet. Yellow foods are a rich source of carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which function as antioxidants and keep various diseases at bay.
Fruits like bananas are loaded with potassium. Lemons and mangoes are high in C vitamins that help strengthen bones and joints and also aids in balancing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, pineapples are great for digestion and may reduce inflammation.
Talking about yellow lentils, moong dal is a great source of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In addition, pigeon peas/toor dal is rich in iron, folic, and magnesium. And, chana dal is loaded with protein, zinc calcium, folate, and dietary fiber.
Make a little more space on your plate as we are not yet done with the yellow dishes. Talking about yellow meals, how can we miss out on veggies! Yellow peppers are rich in fibre, proteins, and iron, and are also beneficial for skin disorders. Corn is a rich source of nicotinic acid, and consuming corn may also prevent free radicals in the body.
Orange fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and folate. These nutrients help boost your immune system, regulate body fluids and blood pressure, and play a vital role in cell development. You can easily attain all these vital nutrients by adding fruits like oranges, mandarins, and tangerines. Fruits like papaya are packed with vitamin A, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory components.
Talking about orange veggies, carrots hold the topmost position and are a good source of vitamin K1, potassium, beta carotene, fiber, and antioxidants. Meanwhile, pumpkins aid in collagen production and are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants.
Masoor dal, which is consumed by many, is a great source of protein, vitamin B1, amino acids, and potassium.
Green food on an Indian platter directly signifies a healthy meal. Leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are low in calories. Regular consumption of leafy greens can offer numerous health benefits like less risk of heart disease, reduced obesity, balanced blood pressure, and stable mental health. Let’s have a quick look at some of the green meals which will keep you full and cover your nutritional requirements.
Broccoli - Rich in vitamin C and E along with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.
Kale - It is high in calcium and vitamin K and helps strengthen bones and teeth.
Spinach - Rich in potassium that helps lower blood pressure.
Brussels sprouts - Great source of glucosinolates that may help fight cancer.
Swiss chard or silverbeet - One of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin for good eye health.
One of the major benefits of green leafy vegetables is you can either cook them or have them as a salad with mere dressing.
You can add a little sweetness to your meal without neglecting the green with fruits like green grapes, green apples, honeydew melons, and pear.
Blue and Purple
We can’t keep blue and purple dishes aside while talking about a platter full of colors. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are known to prevent heart disease, stroke, and cancer. They are important for your memory and promote healthy aging. These foods also protect urinary tract health and help regulate healthy digestion.
Veggies like eggplant or brinjal are high in antioxidants. Purple cabbages help fight inflammation, promote a healthy heart, and enhance your gut health. Meanwhile, blue and purple fruits pack a great taste and help boost your health. Fruits like blueberries are high in fiber, low in calories, and loaded with manganese and vitamins C and K. Prunes are high in fiber and aid in digestion. Jamun or java plum is loaded with vitamin C and iron. If consumed adequately, these fruits and veggies will help you stay in the best shape and keep diseases at bay.
Isn’t white a synonym to dairy products when talking about Indian meals? Well, the product line is not just limited to dairy products. Apart from milk, yogurt, and paneer, we have numerous white food items that are highly nutritional. Cauliflower, radish, mushroom, onion, garlic, sesame seeds, cashews, and white beans are some of the many white food items we see in our everyday meals.
Dairy products - Apart from a great taste, most dairy products are a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein that help build stronger bones. They are also high in riboflavin that supports healthy growth, promotes red blood cell production, and boosts metabolism.
Talking about white-colored food, how can we miss out on sago or sabudana! Sabudana is a carbohydrate-dense food and also a great source of protein that is required for muscle growth.
While gray-colored food items are not seen often on an Indian platter, we still have managed to bring a couple of things for you. One of the few gray-colored foods is buckwheat. Commonly known as kuttu, buckwheat is a pseudo-cereal. It is gluten free, and a great alternative for gluten-sensitive individuals. Kuttu is low in calories and high in protein. Some of the dishes that can be prepared from kuttu are kuttu atta dosa, kuttu puri, and kuttu pakoda.
Rajgira or amaranth
Another gray-colored edible is rajgira. It is abundant in nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Also, rajgira is the only grain to have vitamin C. You can make rotis, chilas, or khichadis out of rajgira.
We have a bag full of healthy edibles for those who are not fasting.
When it comes to filling and healthy meals, we can just not sideline rice. Yes, you read it right. White rice and brown rice are both loaded with minerals, and when consumed adequately, they prove great for your overall health. White rice is a powerhouse of energy, and brown rice, on the other hand, is a rich source of flavonoids and phenols.
As Indians, our meals are incomplete without onion and garlic. These two veggies not only add value to our food but are also loaded with health benefits. Onions are rich in antioxidants and have antibacterial properties, and garlic is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium.
For those who don't mind putting on extra calories, beetroot halwa, carrot halwa, and lauki ka halwa are always great go-to options. Additionally, you can also consume rajgira in the form of ladoos and pattis.
As the festival of Navratri signifies good over evil and celebrates health, prosperity, and knowledge, we wish to convey the same for your wellness. Make your plate be as colorful and pure as this festival, with health in every bite, and let holistic health be your forever friend! We wish you epitome of good health and may you always choose prevention over cure.
Colors and Indian cuisine are hard to cover in one go but we hope our blog will add vibrancy to your platter. Please feel free to write down some additional meals that you feel we might have missed out.