While Eid may be all about good food, the wisdom of people who designed the traditional cuisine associated with it have ensured that the drool-worthy taste is offset by some of the healthiest immunity-boosting ingredients. Let’s take a look at why it’s perfectly alright to dig in, this Eid!
The lamb in festive dishes like Rogan Josh and biryani is not only delicious. It is also rich in zinc, a mineral which works with the protein content of the meat to boost the immune system. This is because it enhances the functioning of the body’s white blood cells. If you’re sceptical of red meat sources for reasons of cholesterol, substitute with a lean meat option like skinless poultry, which may not compare in taste, but also comes with similar benefits.
The sumptuous kebabs and sides are best offset with a generous helping of versatile pudina chutney, which offers the goodness of mint. One of the superfoods for immunity, mint is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, making it ideal for reducing oxidative stress. It is also anti-inflammatory, and rich in vitamin A. Mint is excellent for all kinds of digestive problems – keeping the intestinal tract clean, preventing acidity and heartburn, improving digestion and keeping you cool during the warm summer months.
Saffron Image: 123rf.com
It’s the most expensive spice in the world for a reason, and could cost up to a whopping Rs.1,50,000 for a kilogram! Used liberally across dishes like biryani and desserts, the spice with the exquisite flavour contains antioxidant benefits, like crocin, crocetin and safranal. The first two are mood uplifters and can keep depression and anxiety at bay (that’s why it’s called the sunshine spice!), with regular usage also preventing brain cells from degenerating and boosting memory. Saffron can also help prevent certain kinds of cancers, help with PMS symptoms, keeps blood sugar and heart health in check, has eye benefits and can act as an aphrodisiac!
Dates Image: 123rf.com
Sheer Khurma is a traditional dessert made for Eid with dates as a key ingredient. Dates are one of the best sources of vitamin C among the gamut of dried fruits. It also boasts a range of B vitamins and helps in digestion. Since it contains natural sugars, it is nature’s sweetener, and also provides for reserves of energy the right way.
Onion raita, the accompaniment to your biryani, boasts one of the best veggies for immunity. The medicinal properties of onions have been celebrated through the ages, due to their concentrated antibacterial benefits. They’re packed with vitamin C, vitamin B and potassium, and contain quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that can keep cancer and heart-related ailments at bay. It can even help reduce PCOS, help enhance bone density and control blood sugar.
Eid in India is synonymous with festive marinades, and curries require the goodness of Indian spices and use traditional immunity boosters like turmeric (where the key ingredient curcumin has far-flung benefits from heart health to cancer prevention), coriander (good for regulating blood sugar, fighting infections and protecting your skin), ginger (fabulous for coughs and colds) and cumin (which promotes digestion and enhances metabolism).