A chutney that can boost energy levels
By Sheela Rani Chunkath
20th January 2013 12:00 AM
Turmeric and amla are wonderful ingredients that our siddhars and munis have identified as promoters of good health. Most of us know what is good for us, but in the midst of the chaos of living we often forget to make place for them. Exercise, meditation and good food would probably fall in that category.
Since I am a fan of amla and turmeric, I usually include at least about a quarter spoon of the powders of amla and turmeric in my diet. I consume them as powders stuffed in a gelatin capsule.
An enjoyable way to include more amla in your diet along with nuts—which are powerhouses of nutrients and energy—is to make chutney from them. I have a friend who discusses innovations in food, based sometimes on Ayurvedic principles and sometimes on Atkins. This recipe is based loosely on what she had made one day when I visited her home.
Including walnuts, pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts in your diet is quite easy, because most of us enjoy eating them. Including amla every day is somewhat of a challenge because of the very tart nature of the fruit. This nutty amla chutney is a great way to include the goodness of nature as part of your diet. Take about three fair-sized amlas; to this include a few pistachios, some almonds and couple of walnuts, and about 15 raisins. Add a little (about two teaspoons) of grated coconut and a sprig of curry leaves. Green chillies and salt are to be added to taste.
I usually soak almonds, pistachios and walnuts overnight, and remove their skins to the extent possible. If you are in a hurry you can grind them without soaking them, but personally I prefer the taste of the nuts with their skin removed. The raisins impart a slightly sweet taste to the chutney. You can add dates, if
you like. Don’t forget the amlas though as they are your antioxidants and immune enhancers, all
rolled into one.
Almonds contain Vitamin E, and is said to reduce heart attack risk and provide healthy fats. Almonds contain riboflavin and l-carnitine—nutrients that boost brain activity and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Phosphorus in almonds helps to build strong bones and teeth. It is no wonder that ayurvedic experts love almonds and the badam halwa is a prized sweet.
Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega-3 fats; and for non-fish eaters this is a boon. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease and some cancers. Walnuts contain many phytochemical substances, and their antioxidant activity helps prevent ageing and other neurological diseases. So, try as many ways as you can to include walnuts in your diet. If you must use only one nut, then choose a walnut! One word of caution though. Walnuts become rancid very quickly so don’t buy shelled walnuts. Buy walnuts in their shell, get a nutcracker, relax and crack a few nuts and enjoy them, knowing that they will boost your energy and make you feel much younger than you are.
Pistachios contain antioxidants and are cardio-protective. Raisins contain iron, B-complex vitamins and copper which are all beneficial to your body. Curry leaves also contain iron and fibre. The green chilies too contain Vitamin C. If you have a delicate stomach, go easy on the chillies. Coconut is a nutrient powerhouse and contains lauric acid. Lauric acid is found in abundance in mother’s milk. So, don’t shun your coconut. The same goes for coconut oil too. It helps with reducing thyroid abnormalities and actually brings your weight down. Coconut adds a familiar taste to the chutney.
This nutty amla chutney has fast become a favourite in my house. Friends who drop in love its tangy sweet flavour and now use it as a side dish for everything, from idlis to parathas.
The writer was earlier Health Secretary, Tamil Nadu, and is currently Additional Chief Secretary, and Chairman and MD, Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation. She can be reached at Sheelarani.email@example.com.Earlier articles can be accessed at www.arogyamantra.blogspot.com
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