In the past few years, there has been a hype about Superfood globally which idolises certain food with antioxidants and cancer prevention properties. It is a marketing term used by the fitness and whole food industries to attract consumers to buy food such as berries, nuts, wheatgrass, chia seeds, quinoa, etc. Due to extreme emphasis on health benefits of superfood, some consume specific superfoods in large quantity leading to an “impaired, one-sided diet”.
Diet is all about healthy balance. Our ancestors have already figured out food as remedy and incorporated small doses of “superfood” into our daily lifestyles to help us fight disease and get proper nutrients. Food City would like to share some of the superfoods which is part of our daily diet used in Burmese and other Asian cuisines.
Burmese Jaggery is made from the sap of toddy palm trees which can be found in the middle part of Myanmar. Mostly brown in color and sweet in taste obviously, it is a well-known Burmese traditional dessert and eaten after meal to aid digestion. It is also used in most Burmese snacks instead normal sugar. Ginger soup with jaggery is a key home remedy to boost body immune system and to relieve general body pain including menstrual pain.
Ginger is the most popular spice with nutrients and bioactive compounds. Ginger is assumed to be originated in India, where it is the most common in the world. Ginger is not only used as spice in Myanmar, but it is commonly eaten as other dishes such as ginger salad. Ginger contains vitamin C, E, manganese and potassium. Ginger soup boosts immune system and prevent cold, seasonal flu and related diseases. Besides it can reduce muscle pain, menstrual pain and improve brain function.
Tamarind is a tropical fruit which has sweet and sour tastes. It is used in different cuisine around the world. It contains carbohydrates, fiber and multi-vitamins. Tamarind can ease stomach discomfort and help digestion, relieve pain, promote the immune system, reduce fever and protect children against parasites and worms.
Turmeric is widely cultivated in Indian and Southeast Asian countries. Turmeric powder is known as the essential spice for the dish curry in Myanmar and recognized as natural coloring powder. It is also a powerful herb used for prevention and reversal of diseases. It is rich in potassium, iron, manganese, vitamin B6 and fiber. Especially, turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body can help prevent cancer.
Onion is an essential ingredient in Myanmar curries. Onion is an essential part of curries, soups, and salads. Sometimes it is eaten raw to reduce cholesterol. Onion is rich in antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds. Onion helps to reduce risk of cancer and lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Apart from eating, onion juice is also used for immediate relief from the pain and burning sensation by applying it on the affected area.
Lemon Grass is mostly used in Asian cuisines. It is also one of the ingredients in Burmese national dish, Mohinga (fish soup with rice noodle). Lemongrass is full of antioxidants and has several health benefits such as treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints, fever, the common cold, and exhaustion.