By Naini Setalvad
Naini Setalvad lists a number of energising, refreshing, healthy drinks from the Indian subcontinent to replace the tantalising yet harmful beverages assailing our lives
When you return home after a long, exhausting day outside, your hand inevitably reaches for a cool, refreshing drink. All the exhaustion, fatigue, and irritation dissipates in just few sips. All it takes is one gulp of the cool beverage to travel through your food pipe to cool your entire system.
Hence, making right choices in selecting your beverages is important. This tiny but correct decision leads to a happy, healthy and more energetic you. So switch from market bought aerated drinks, soft drinks, mocktails and sugary fruit juices to yummier and healthier alternatives and see the change! Listed below are some of the healthier options.
Water is essential to cool down the body. It also helps transport nutrients throughout the body and discharges the waste matter. All other foods that act as coolants do so because they have high water content. Therefore, regardless of what you eat in a day, you must constantly be drinking water to prevent dehydration or any other heat induced problem.
Adding a flavour to water is another good option. Cut cucumbers, mint leaves, apples, oranges, berry or segments of grapefruit and add them to your drinking water. These additions give distinct flavours to your water. Frozen fruit pieces added to it are aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious in taste.
Coconut water contains natural electrolytes; no wonder it is called the ‘fluid of life’. It is an oral rehydration medium; the next best thing to water. In addition, it keeps the body cool. It is also instantaneously refreshing, and contains minerals that are excellent for hair and skin.
Sparkling water is simply spring water that contains naturally occurring minerals, which means it’s slightly fizzy water, though equally hydrating, with a few trace minerals. This makes it a fun alternative to water.
Wheatgrass is packed with Chlorophyll which is an important blood builder. It additionally comprises of 17 amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B and vitamin K.
With the arrival of October comes the nip in the air. The seasonal change brings along a host of runny noses and coughs and colds. Eating the correct kinds of foods will boost your immunity and keep you safe from the seasonal flu. This soup with its amazing tempering is an ideal immunity booster. Rasam satiates one’s taste buds and aids digestion.
Sol curry (sol kadhi)
Sol curry is a popular and healthy drink which is usually consumed after meals. Hailing from the Konkani region, it contains coconut milk, cumin seeds, green chillies, and salt. Sol curry is known not just for its taste; it also prevents cold, improves digestion, acts as a coolant and can aid in weight loss.
Tomatoes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Virgin Mary, made from fresh tomatoes, is a nutrient dense 40-calorie drink. When out with friends for a drink, this one makes for a smart choice instead of sugary mocktails. The lycopene in tomatoes is a very powerful antioxidant.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants and contains lesser caffeine than coffee. It is relatively gentler to your body and can be flavoured with fresh herbs and spices like mint or ginger without adding too many calories.
Whip up some yoghurt with mint, coriander, ginger, cumin and rock salt, mix it with chilled water and you have a refreshing drink laden with natural probiotic. Probiotics are essential to maintain healthy gut flora which ensures proper digestion.
This tangy drink replenishes your body with salt and micronutrients. Cumin present in this drink provides one with potassium. This drink works well on the side of a meal, as a replacement for the deceptive colas, and is a fantastic digestive.
A chilled glass of salty lemon water can definitely cool one down. The salt added to it helps replenish minerals lost in the sun. The vitamin C present in it boosts one's health with special benefits to hair, skin and eyes.
Blend together two or more fruits of your choice in a blender with some ice to get a nice, smooth, runny paste and drink up! This way you’ll get the nutrients of the fruits along with the fun of having a fruit juice as well as the benefits of the fibre. Mix together melons, mangoes, kiwis and bananas in any combination you like.
Another refreshing drink is the naturally sweet sugarcane juice. Besides the fact that it is low on the glycemic index, sugarcane juice hydrates the body instantly when suffering from excessive heat. It works best with mint, lemon and ginger.
Soaked and dried kokum blended with water, and sweetened naturally with stevia is an instant refresher with a tangy taste. It is rich in vitamin C and aids in weight loss as well as in lowering blood sugar levels.
So here is a bottoms up to a more energised, livelier, happier and undoubtedly, healthier you!
Half a lime sized tamarind
1.5 cups water
For cooking toor dal
¼ cup toor dal
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ghee
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¾ teaspoon rasam powder
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
½ teaspoon salt
3 sprigs mint leaves
2 sprigs coriander leaves
1 sprig curry leaves
1. Soak tamarind in water for 20 minutes until it’s very soft and pliable. Gently squeeze the soaked tamarind to extract all the juices. Discard any seeds or fiber after squeezing. Set aside.
2. Heat ghee in a pan and add curry leaves and cumin seeds to it. Saute on a low flame for 30 seconds.
3. Add turmeric powder and rasam powder. Saute for 10 seconds on a low flame.
4. Cook toor dal with water for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker. Add in the cooked toor dal.
5. Add freshly cracked pepper and the tamarind pulp.
6. Bring to a simmer. The broth will foam up and start to bubble on the sides. When it starts boiling, switch off the flame. Do not allow the rasam to boil for a long time.
7. Take a bowl and add in the salt, coriander leaves and mint leaves. Add in the hot rasam immediately to the bowl.
8. Close the bowl with a tight lid and allow the flavours to develop for 15 minutes.
9. Strain the rasam and serve hot.
Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist, specialising in lifestyle and immunity disorders. Her foundation, Health For You, throws light on healthy food habits.
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