Luke Coutinho Shares The Nutritional Significance Of Rabi Crops Around Seasonal Harvesting
Have you ever wondered about doing something consciously to avoid falling sick during a season change? It’s a sensitive time when a season changes - right from nature to human bodies everything undergoes a change. That is the time when immunity has to be strong and steady. Due to our poor lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, there’s a lot of disharmony between the natural cycle and the way our bodies react to it. And during such times keeping good health seems a task.
It is very important to consume seasonal foods and to have synchronicity with the natural seasonal cycle. Eating seasonal foods would not only help to keep good health during the change of season but also reinforces the balance between nature’s resources and human health.
There’s is no lack of resources, in fact, nature is abundant and it has provided everything to human beings as per their needs. Something that nature has given to human beings in abundance is food - with each changing season nature offers an array of beautiful fresh productions with high nutritional value.
Each season has some different kind of food production to offer to us, foods grown in a particular season are perfectly designed to prepare us immunity wise for that season. If we eat what grows in that particular region, our chances of falling sick drastically reduce.
There’s a lot of significance attached to every seasonal food produced, in fact, the whole system of nature seems wondrous that how staple foods of a specific region are designed in a way that suits geographical aspects such as climate and temperature, according to which seasonal fruits and vegetables are produced. This whole cycle is so wonderfully outlined, every year in our country many crops are produced on the basis of seasons and have been a major source of livelihood and support for many local farmers.
When spring season marks its arrival, nature is at its full bloom. Let’s have a look into what nature has to offer us at this seasonal harvesting time.
India happens to be a huge producer of many crops, and on the basis of the season, this is the time for Rabi crop which is the spring harvest or winter crop and the word ‘Rabi’ means when the crop is ready to harvest. This crop is sown around the month of October preferably after the monsoon and the harvesting starts around the month of March every year. Khapli wheat, barley, mustard, chickpeas, sesame are some of the major Rabi crops grown hugely during the Rabi season. Consuming these seasonal productions during springtime has got a lot of health benefits for us.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of these seasonal grains:
Chickpeas (Chana): A part of the legume family, chickpeas are a great source of fibre! This legume with a nutty taste and grainy textures have been growing in the Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years. Let’s see why it is beneficial for you to incorporate this rabi crop in your diet:
- A great source of minerals such as iron, zinc, and manganese.
- Highly rich in fibre and protein, Chana aids in weight loss. Eating roasted chana can make you feel gratified for a longer span of time.
- Chana is a superfood to maintain good skin and hair as it is highly rich in biotin (B7).
- The content of potassium, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and selenium in Chana boosts your heart health.
- Boosts digestion and keeps the digestive tract healthy. One can savour pan-roasted chana as a snack that keeps the energy level balanced when it tends to dip in the evening. But remember to consume only unsalted chana and not salted because salted chickpeas might again create issues like water retention and bloating.
Khapli Wheat (Emmer Wheat): Compared with the usual variety of wheat, Khapli Wheat is reddish in color and has a longer grain size. This wheat is highly grown in the western and southern parts of India. Consuming this food grain during the Rabi season can have loads of health benefits for you:
- Emmer wheat has twice of fibre and protein making it healthier compared to the usual wheat.
- Khapli boosts your immune system, making it a fantastic food grain for children, elders, family and all.
- It has been linked to lower the bad cholesterol, however, it’s not a magic food, nothing is! But with the right lifestyle, it can complement to achieve good health.
- Khapli happens to be low in gluten, it is easily digestible and people with gluten intolerance can easily have it.
- It has complex carbohydrates that support immunity.
Barley (Jau): This ancient member of the Poaceae grass family dates back to 10,000 years and is a major cereal grain grown in a moderate climate across the globe. Considered to be an ancient grain Barley is supposed to have been originated from Ethiopia and Southeast Asia. This food grain with chewy and subtle nutty flavour brings the following benefits for your health:
- Barley has been linked to controlling blood sugar levels and improves insulin responses. Also, helps to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes.
- Works as a natural diuretic - barley water works as an effective remedy for urinary tract infections. It also happens to be a good remedy for cysts and kidney stones.
- Happens to be high in soluble fibre, especially the beta-glucan which is good for your gut health.
- Consuming barley can help with weight loss and detox plans also issues with bloating and water retention. But remember: Barley contains gluten so people with gluten intolerance should avoid having it.
- Barley contains a high level of potassium and happens to be low in fat and sodium.
Oats: Oats are one of the species of cereal grains generally considered to be a secondary crop. They are best grown in moderate regions with lower heat requirements. Consuming this cereal comes with these benefits:
- Oats contain antioxidants that help to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
- This cereal has been linked to lower bad cholesterol.
- Oats are highly rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre - beta-glucan, which helps to regulate the bowel movements and prevents constipation.
- The content of high fibre and complex carbohydrates in oats helps to stabilize the level of blood sugar and curtails the risk of type-2 diabetes.
- Highly rich in magnesium, oats works as instrumental for energy production and enzyme function in the body.
- This is a low-calorie cereal that helps you in weight loss, a bowl full of oats can keep you feel fuller for longer! Oatmeal contains beta-glucan that increases the level of Cholecystokinin, a hunger-fighting hormone in the body.
- Besides, being good for consumption oats are good for topical application in case of eczema and psoriasis.
Remember: When we talk about oats we aren’t referring to the processed oats at all as they are stripped of fibre and nutrients. Avoid choosing to eat processed oats!
Mustard: It is good to incorporate mustard seeds in your diet as these are rich in a nutrient called Selenium known for its good anti-inflammatory effects. Let’s have a look into what benefits mustard seeds have for your health:
- Mustard seeds or Sarso dana have been linked to reducing the impact of asthma.
- The rich content of magnesium helps to manage a few symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and it also aids in lowering blood pressure.
- Mustard seeds are rich in sulphur, sulphurophane, it works as an anticancer agent.
- It helps to detoxify the circulatory system - it stimulates the sweat glands and gets you sweating drawing out all the toxins. It also aids in detoxifying the lymphatic system and liver.
- Excellent food to boost digestion as it increases the metabolism rate of the body.
Now that you know the benefits of some key Rabi crops, hope you incorporate this seasonal produce in your diet and make the best with your health. It’s about getting back to your roots and not straying away from your staple food. It is the exposure to a particular culture that shapes our genetic make-up, gut microbiome, metabolism, thought process and beliefs, and only when our food habits remain in alignment with our cultures, we attain good health.
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