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Several tips from this article were published by leading Indian Newspapers such as The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Business Standard, Telangana Today, Millennium Post & many more on 26th-27th June, 2017. Read on…

These easy to make herbal drinks, using herbs & spices from your kitchen, will make sure you enjoy the monsoon rain while keeping infection & illness at bay!

1. GOLDEN MILK

Boil milk and water in 1:1 ratio. Add a pinch of turmeric, nutmeg, black pepper and ginger powder and few strands of saffron. Let it simmer till its reduces to half its quantity. Add jaggery to taste and sip on it hot or warm.

BENEFITS –

Along with the rains, monsoon brings along dengue, malaria and fever. This therapeutic drink is rich in antioxidants that will build up your immunity, bring down inflammation, reduce protein and fluid loss from the body & accelerate recovery.

2. KASHAYA

To make the Kashaya powder, dry roast coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in 4:2:1 ratio along with 1 tablespoon black peppercorn seeds. Next, grind these dry spices to a fine powder and store in an airtight jar. To make your brew, boil a glass of water and add 1 teaspoon Kashaya powder and 1 tsp grated jaggery to it. Strain and drink it hot.

BENEFITS –

Come monsoon and most of us are either down with throat infections or cough, cold and flu. Kashaya is an Ayurvedic drink that works as a decongestant and helps to clear the sinuses. It also has anti bacterial properties that boosts immunity.

3. FENNEL & CAROM POTION

Add one teaspoon each of fennel (saunf) and carom (ajwain) seeds to boiling water and let it simmer for some time. Remove from flame and add honey to it. Drink this hot after your meals.

BENEFITS –

According to Ayurveda, fennel seeds possess ‘Agnikrut’ qualities – that which improves digestive strength. Carom seeds are rich in essential oils, phytochemicals, minerals like copper that helps treat dysentery or diarrhoea, stomach infections, nausea that are typical of rainy season.

4. HIBISCUS TEA

Boil water and let the magenta coloured sepals of the Hibiscus flower infuse in it. Strain and add honey.

BENEFITS –

Hibiscus blooms generously in rainy season and is an easy plant to grow on your terrace or balcony. Rich in Vitamin C , anthocyanin and antioxidants, it will keep your skin and scalp healthy and prevent any infection or itchiness that comes along with the rains.

5. The quintessential KADHA

Boil water and add basil leaves (tulsi), ginger, cardamom and crushed pepper. Remove from flame and put ghee and honey. Drink it piping hot in a clay cup.

BENEFITS –

Kadha is an Ayurvedic medicine for sore throat, cough, nose congestion and flu. It has anti bacterial and anti viral properties. The SCFA (short chain fatty acids) in ghee strengthens the gut microbiota and promotes immunity of the body. The minerals in clay not only enhances the taste of the drink but also works as a natural ‘detox’ and will help fight infections.

Image Courtesy : Google Images

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PICKLES – THE PRIZED HEIRLOOMS

 

MYTHS WE GENERALLY HEAR –

“Avoid it if you have high blood pressure because there’s too much salt” OR

“Avoid it if you have cholesterol, there’s so much oil” OR

“Too many spices in it, not good if you have IBS, acidity or allergies, avoid it!”

WHAT THE FACTS ARE –

Not long ago, almost each family in India had its own secret recipe of making its pickles. These recipes were meticulously passed down to the next generation who treasured it only to continue this legacy with it’s future generations; very much like a piece of heirloom jewellery, unique and priceless, that is passed down from generation to generation.

Then around the 1970s, some 40 years back, people authorized to give health/ diet advice started questioning this very heritage for the salt/ oil/ and spices it contains. Women folks getting together for the annual pickle making ritual gradually started becoming a rare sight.

On the other hand, fermented foods (specifically lacto-fermentation) today have gained popularity worldwide as people have started discovering its health benefits along with the great taste it offers. Tabloids and health blogs are dutifully reaching out to the ‘health-conscious’ informing them about its ‘probiotics’ benefit. Celebrities are being roped in to endorse ‘probiotic drinks’ packed in fancy bottles, calling it the new ‘superfood’.

 

Amongst all this fuss, what is not being promoted and endorsed is the ‘probiotic-rich’ pickle our daadi-naani made through the same process of ‘lacto-fermentation’ that is gaining popularity worldwide. The salt she adds, aids in controlling the fermentation process, the oil acts as natural preservative and the methi/ jeera/ dhania have anti – microbial properties that also enhances the taste.

Let’s look at some more benefits of grandmom’s “Achaar” and why you MUST have it –

1. Fights obesity & diabetes– Our fast paced lifestyle heavy on packaged/ processed food upsets the balance of our gut microbiota. New researches link the changes in our “gut flora mix” with an increase in obesity and diabetes. The ‘live’ probiotics in homemade achaar helps restore the diversity and strength of the gut microbiota, accelerates fat burning and increases insulin sensitivity.

Pickles fights obesity & diabetes

2. Fights bloating– By providing just the right strain of bacteria, it helps in relieving bloating and makes you look thinner on your tummy.

3. Stimulates Vit B12 & Vit D– Encourages production of Vit B12 & Vit D3. If your blood reports have declared you deficient in these vitamins, do take a vitamin shot of your homemade achaar!

4. Improves digestion – Being enzymes and probiotic rich, achaar aids in digestion and helps assimilate and absorb nutrients from food (The science behind the age old practice of having a small pickle with your fibre-rich rotis and rice)

5. Boosts immunity – It creates acidic fermentation by-products in the body and lowers the intestine’s pH at a level where it is difficult for any “bad” bacteria to survive. The “good” bacteria it contains secretes anti-microbial proteins that kills off “bad” bacteria and boosts immunity of the body.

So what are you waiting for? Just pickle it up!

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