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The ABCD of food that is right for you

Zubin D’Souza

I want to rewrite the alphabet in a slightly better way. It would teach the generations to come about food that is really good for us.

A – is for Apple and we all know about its various properties like keeping the doctor away and such. It also stands for Avocadoes which are heart healthy and full of fibre.

B – stands for Barley which is an extremely healthy grain, helps to regulate blood sugar and has been proven effective in the treatment of bowels.

C – is definitely for Chillies. I could have said Carrots and harped on their Vitamin A and beta-carotene but I intend to use them further down the list. Chillies contain capsaicin which has anti-inflammatory properties, has high levels of Vitamin C and prevents the capillaries from hardening and even cardiovascular diseases.

D – I am going with Daikon on this. Raw, cooked, stir-fried and shredded in a salad, the daikon or white radish may be low on the energy it provides but is an extremely fantastic source of Vitamin C and the enzyme myrosinase.

E – Eggplant; couldn’t think of anything with more benefits than that in the E class so to speak. Eggplant juice has been found to reduce weight and cholesterol and the vegetable is rather low in fat.

F – Flax seeds really need no introduction. They have been taking the wellness world by storm for quite some time now. Flax seeds contain Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids as well as high levels of protein, dietary fibre and minerals and several B vitamins.

G – can denote nothing but garlic which is legendary and was even fed to the slaves who worked on the pyramids. It is said to help provide and prolong physical strength. It is also a great aid in fighting cardiovascular diseases

H – is for honey; the sweet liquid made by bees from flower nectar. It has been used to treat coughs and sores, cuts and burns. It has been thought to prolong life and at one point in time was considered the nectar of the gods.

I – This is the point I started revaluating the entire purpose behind this exercise. I also marks the beginning of isomalt which is a sugar substitute derived from beets. It has half the calories than pure sucrose.

J – The world’s largest fruit the jackfruit has also been bestowed with a terrible task. It is believed that this fruit, which is a relative of the breadfruit and fig and can be eaten as a vegetable when raw and as a fruit when ripe, is the only product available to solve the world hunger crisis.

K – kokum or black mangosteen found in the Western Ghats and the Konkan region of India is known to relieve anxiety. The kiwi fruit apart from its awesome flavour is a great source of Vitamins C, K, E and also dietary fibre.

L – This is for lentils which are staples in the Indian and Middle Eastern diet. They are full of iron and phosphorus and calcium, vitamins A and B.

M – Humans have been consuming milk for thousands of years. With their amazing nutritional content of proteins, calcium, riboflavin, Vitamins A and D, who could disagree?

N – Gorge on all the nuts you want (except cashew) because they have Vitamin E and are great for your heart.

O – Olive oil which is one of the most perfect cooking mediums to have in your kitchen

P – Papayas are natives to the Americas; they contain Vitamins A and C and did you know that there are some extremely prominent and healthy individuals out there who only eat papaya for all their meals?

Q – Quinoa was known to the Incas as a ‘mother grain’ and has recently been hailed as the ‘supergrain of the future’. Should I continue extolling its virtues or quit while I am ahead?

R – Rice is held as sacred to many cultures. It has achieved a bit of a bad reputation by then but then you could opt for organic brown rice and derive the full nutritional benefits of this superb product.

S – I want to say salt but I am afraid that some readers may overdo it. I am going with saffron which is the most expensive spice in the world but there is evidence linking it to the protection against cancer, reduction in premenstrual symptoms and treatment against depression.

T – for tea. I really cannot get more clichéd than that. It is filled with antioxidants and tannins and great for your heart. It also stands for turmeric which has been hailed for its cancer fighting properties and several other medicinal benefits.

U – Uncooked food or the raw food diet is something we shall speak in detail on in a later article. It is great to add some raw vegetables to your diet for the fibre and also none of the nutrients are lost in the cooking process.

V – This denotes the fantastically wonderful vanilla bean. Apart from an amazing flavour, it has essential oils, vitamins and minerals

W – Walnuts were covered under nuts and watermelon is a great diet fruit that provides the body with Vitamins A and C. Although not really for children but moderate consumption of wine has been shown to cut the risk of heart disease.

X – is for Xacuti, the amazing Goan sauce that stars chillies and malt vinegar that although not overtly great for your body, leaves life rather incomplete if one has not tried it. It is also for Xmas and a Xmas feast which is the one day in the year when food indulgences are allowed.

Y – for yoghurt which is full of probiotics which are essential for a healthy belly

And finally we have Z which stands for zest which you should have for your life. Also zest of fruit for the essential oils they contain. Then we also have zucchini which has vitamins and minerals and zero which denotes that I have no more ideas left.

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