India’s millennial generation is changing the food industry for the better. Their evolving dietary preferences have created a market for healthier, sustainable food as evidenced b the emergence of a new category of superfoods—ancient grains. Many are swapping out refined and modern grains for those that have been consumed traditionally as “These small grains are packed with big benefits,” Delhi-based celebrity nutritionist Nmami Agarwal says.
Today, most trending diets have you skipping out on carbohydrates, but traditional grains are a healthy source of carbs and fats, or huge energy boosters. Not only do they improve digestive health, but these gluten-free and easily digestible grains also result in increased satiety, explains Mumbai-based nutritionist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Luke Coutinho.Their low ranking on the glycaemic index makes them diabetic-friendly too.
As these micronutrient powerhouses do not undergo processing and refining, they are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Agarwal explains that they also have heart-healthy soluble fibres that regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Nmami also tells us that your average traditional grain “has more calcium than a glass of milk,” and so not only is it essential for healthy bones, but also helps prevent ailments like osteoporosis.
They are a boon to the large vegetarian and vegan populations as they are a complete source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, not to mention their wealth of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that have cancer-fighting benefits. Their bioactive compounds make them great weight-loss foods as well, and they are in keeping with the trending paleo, locavore and satvic diets.
When it comes to consumption, these ancient grains can be given a modern twist. They can be put in açaí bowls or cooked into daily foods from chapatis and dosas to fritters and dumplings. However, due to the fast-paced lives we lead today, several brands—from start-ups to multinationals—have come up with readymade ancient grain alternatives that are appetising, nutritious, and of course, convenient. Scroll through for our top four picks:
Rasika Iyer, with her husband Prashant Parameswaran, started Soulfull to reinvent these super grains for the 21st-century consumer. Currently, Soulfull has a wide product range of healthy snacking options including ragi bites, millet cereals, an on-the-go shake called Smoothix, and ready-to-cook millet meals.
Soulfull’s products can be purchased in retail stores, online and throught e-commerce platforms. Read more