Mukhwas: More than just mouth freshener!
Customarily, mukhwas is eaten after a meal – it is a fantastic digestive, a wonderful breath freshener and it is the ultimate palate cleanser! There are a host of healthful ingredients that go into a mukhwas and there are innumerable recipes to choose from, once you've figured out what your preference is.
What exactly is mukhwas?
When you eat, your taste buds get stimulated; the taste buds are tiny receptors which act in response to diverse flavours such as - sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, sour and umami. Every now and then, the taste of one food impacts the flavor of the next thing that you eat. Cleansing your palate after strong flavours helps you to relish the more subtle flavours without any kind of hindrance.
In India, we’ve traditionally been having the ‘mukhwas’ which is incredibly colorful and flavorful and proffers a whole bunch of health benefits! In Italy, it is customary to consume a sorbet or a lightly dressed salad in between the main course and the final course. While in Japan, pickled ginger is used as the perfect palate cleanser and ideal digestive to delight in every bite of the exquisite cuisine!
The magic of mukhwas!
The mukhwas is designed to be a palate cleanser, to get rid of any lingering flavor and taste in the mouth, to make your breath minty fresh and to pep up digestion. In fact, the mukhwas helps prevent acidity and heartburn, wards off indigestion, and de-bloats the tummy.
Usually, in India, each region has a special ingredient and its own recipe, normally a local produce that the locals set store by. When you select your mukhwas, opt for something that has a clean, bright, neutral flavor. You could pick a store-bought mukhwas or experiment with your own recipe that boasts of your gastronomic creativity!
Here are 5 commonly used ingredients; let’s explore their wholesome benefits:
1. Saunf: Fennel seeds have a sweet, earthy flavor that helps clear the existing taste from your mouth and is more often than not the first choice for most mukhwas recipes. It imparts a super refreshing taste, so the mouth feels clean! An excellent palate cleanser, fennel soothes the muscles in the stomach and intestines and helps allay bloating and gassiness, as well as wards off an acid reflux. It also enhances the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Significantly, fennel helps break down carbohydrates and fats and facilitates weight loss too.
2. Ajwain: Carom seeds are significantly effective in getting rid of stinky flavours from your palate. Having a sharp, zingy savour, ajwain eliminates gas and bloating almost instantaneously; playing a pivotal role after a fairly heavy meal! The health benefits of ajwain are undoubtedly noteworthy and the spice is touted as the best natural remedy to deal with flatulence and to boost digestion.
3. Jeera: A fabulous mouth freshener and carminative, the cumin seed helps you digest food quickly. Jeera is an incredible gut-friendly condiment; it revs up your digestion, stimulates the release of pancreatic enzymes and guarantees that your gastro-intestinal system stays in first-rate condition. Importantly, jeera has conventionally been valued for its GI benefits; and scientific research has corroborated all the wonderful jeera benefits.
4. Pumpkin seeds: The perfect post-meal snack! They are packed with protein and are an excellent source of minerals too. Pumpkin seeds provide potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, making them a super health food that you must stock up on!
5. Flax seeds: Small seeds with phenomenally big results! Flaxseeds are chockfull of fibre and proteins. They promote liver health; help keep your cholesterol levels in check and your heart happy!
When fashioning your own mukhwas, if you want to keep off sugar, but yet crave something sweet, throw in some chopped dried dates. To make mukhwas more exciting, you can lightly roast your ingredients, sprinkle some salt and even add a pinch of turmeric. A hint of mint essential oil and voila! You’ve significantly jazzed up your mukhwas!
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