Hello, Health

Why eat kuttu ka atta only during Navratras?

Indulge in this underrated grain in your regular diet too.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   11-04-2016
  • ---
    Total Shares

We are midway through the Navratras and I find these nine days (twice a year) gastronomically very exciting, as suddenly there is an absolute change in palate.

Vrat ka khana gives my body and taste buds a break from the regular fare, and also helps me put a brake to mindless eating without thinking that we practice through the rest of the year (mostly!)

I like the idea of eating lighter meals, and saying no to the regular grains (wheat, rice etc), as it's a way of exercising our usually flailing will power too. Imagine suddenly no convenient bread for any meal allowed for more that a week!

This is where the binding of religious reasons come handy. Guys who came up with this sure knew what they were doing. And trust me if we don't go overboard with frying (which is just too tempting to do), the Navratra food makes for (and actually is supposed to be) really healthy eating.

img_0088_041116101534.jpg Soba noodles. (jeanetteshealthyliving.com) 

Besides eating lots of potato, which incidentally is one of my favourites (and deserves a complete story on its own), what works for me the most during this time is the complete revamp of the grains we eat (the vrat rule about eating only the allowed grains is pretty strict apparently!).

I have always believed that eating just one kind of cereal day in and out is not such a good idea. Giving body variety helps it get the benefit of the otherwise not eaten commonly grains. And whosoever thought of including buckwheat flour for vrat was a genius apparently, as the more I read about its benefits, the more enthralled I get.

Read on, hopefully you'll get enticed to keep the vrat too, or maybe just extend and experiment and try out this underrated grain in your regular diet. Not a bad idea I tell you.

Ask those who live in the highland Himalayan regions (it's their chief food source there), or maybe even the Japanese, who dig their Soba noodles (made from buckwheat) so much.

The benefits

1. Kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour): buckwheat flour is packed with high-quality protein and offers more of the amino acid lysine that is missing from most of our regular/preferred staples wheat and rice (corn, oats and quinoa also contain this amino acid)). That's a big plus, primarily in strict vegetarian diets where enough good quality protein is always a challenge.

51_041116101219.jpeg Protein-packed quinoa. (www.chowhound.com) 

2. It contains a lot of fibre: both soluble and insoluble that besides keeping us full longer also helps in detoxification of body; it binds to toxins and aids in their excretion through the gut, thereby help protect the colon from cancers.

3. It has plenty of B-complex vitamins, even more than the much-feted quinoa, especially riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3).

4. It's loaded with minerals including trace minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.

5. This underrated flour is cardiac protective. According to research, buckwheats intake is associated with better cholesterol counts in the body (lower bad LDL cholesterol and higher health-promoting HDL cholesterol); in fact it is one of the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date.

1buckwheat-salad_041116101639.jpg Buckwheat salad. (healthconnectionsa.com)

6. That's not all. Kuttu atta also provides a rich supply of antioxidants, particularly rutin, that again is a known heart disease protector as it strengthens capillary walls and improves circulation. Plus high magnesium in it (a whooping 250mg/100gms) relaxes blood vessels, improves blood flow and helps lower the BP.

7. And like the widely prescribed hypertension drugs, buckwheat proteins too have the ability to reduce the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thereby reducing the risk of hypertension further.

8. Buckwheat is also the richest source of D-chiro inositol, a unique type of carbohydrate that reduces blood sugar and helps prevent diabetes. In fact, it's a safe bet for diabetics too.

9. Finally, they are great to help keep cravings away, as buckwheat scores highest (among grains) on their ability to satisfy hunger.

And there's the clincher: Buckwheat contains no gluten (it is not actually a grain but is a fruit seed) and is therefore great for celiacs and those on grain-free and gluten-sensitive diets.

Try it, you might like it

It's a strong taste, and usually an acquired one. But whether or not you find it tasty, it's time to incorporate it in our diets. And no you don't need to slather it in oil to cook it, there are lots of ways you can eat it: porridge, pancakes, crepes, bake a bread with it (don't ask me how, I haven't tried it yet, though it is on the agenda), Soba noodles (an interesting substitute for regular pasta), and you can even add the buckwheat grains to soups, salads, chicken dishes to score both health and crunchiness.


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

Like DailyO Facebook page to know what's trending.