Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goa’s healthy foods

Goa abounds in beauty and serenity. It also abounds in a rich cuisine most of which has been inherited from inputs of Portuguese cuisine including the ingredients that go into Goan cooking. When it comes to eating healthy foods, Goans often take a back seat in preference of bad eating habits and underscore on their dietary requirements thereby compromising on nutritional values required for a healthy growth.

In Goa, we have various natural foods which are rich in their nutritional value. Vegetables in Goa which are grown in the villages and across the highways of Goa are rich sources of vitamins, iron and magnesium. Vegetables such as tambdi bhaji, ghosale, padval etc are a must in the Goan diet for healthy foods.The Hindu community of Goa prepares a pulse-vegetable curry known as “khatkhattem” which is very healthy as it contains rich proteins, calcium and ragi. The popular “Bhakri” is also composed of Ragi.

Fish is a natural staple food for many Goans and is also gifted with proteins and calcium. The Kokum juice has been traditionally used in Goan cooking and is now consumed as a health drink or simply eaten as a fruit in Goa. Kokum is known to reduce levels of cholesterol and also assists digestion. In the summers season, Goa’s tender coconut juice and soft pulp of the coconut fruit has a cooling effect while providing rich potassium content. Red rice or “ukdde tandul” especially the traditional Goan rice such as ‘azgo” has more fibre and B complex vitamins and can be regularly consumed as “kanji”

Gopan papayas have also content of vitamin A and fibre while bananas promote adding of weight and have resistant starch in them. Watermelon which is a favorite among Goans is very refreshing and full of water. Mangoes lend the high dietary fibre and contain beta carotene. Often a mango a day can be quite satisfying for the necessary health.

Goan cucumbers are rich in water soluble vitamins and can easily substitute a salad when eaten with salt. They are also excellent for diabetes patients with heart problems and also good against obesity.

Breakfast options in Goa include ‘koiloyos” which are made from Goan rice and can be very rich, healthy and filling. For bread, it is better to opt for whole wheat bread or better “chapatis” made out of wheat which are also very good.

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