Poha: The Flattened Rice
Poha (beaten rice) is well associated with Indian mythology and Lord Krishna. A special sweet made of beaten rice, jaggery and grated coconut (all raw) mixed together is offered to the Lord on Janmashtami. Later on, it is consumed as prasad by the devotees who keep fast the whole day. The fresh coconut and jaggery give instant energy and all the ingredients together provide the necessary nutrients to the body. As on today, it is considered to be one of the healthiest breakfast options. It is light on stomach and can be easily digested.
Poha is a good source of carbohydrates, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and fibre. The number of vegetables and the nuts that are added while preparing poha makes it even more nourishing and healthy. Moreover, it does not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats. It is lactose free and heart friendly. Let us see what makes it so healthy;
Contains Iron: 20mg iron in every 100gm rice flakes. Sufficient iron helps the body to form haemoglobin that carries oxygen body cells, which helps in normal neurological functioning and builds immunity. We often squeeze lemon on poha to enhance its taste. This further helps improve iron absorption. One more tip to enhance iron absorption is to use iron pan. Long back we have discarded them as we found non-stick pans with light weight and easy to clean. But the enamel used as coating disappears after some time due to repeated use and it obviously goes inside our stomach, which is not at all good for our health.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy we get from food made up of fibre and sugar. Without sufficient carbohydrates it is difficult for us to carry on with our day to day activities. Poha in our diet fills this void and also provide us with fibre.
Easy for Digestion: One can eat poha to the content of their heart. It is not heavy at all. It does not make you feel a bloated stomach, acidity or indigestion. For diabetics it promotes slow release of sugar into the blood stream. It is low gluten food and can be considered by people who have to consume low gluten foods.
Stomach Upset: When your stomach goes for a toss, you can safely take poha meal. Wash poha in water, add to fresh curd with little salt and squeeze a lemon to taste. This would fill your stomach, give you energy and also help reduce the problem.
This low fat diet can be consumed without the fear of gaining weight. Poha is bland and does not have any flavour or taste of its own. Only the ingredients that are added to it enhance its taste. So we can prepare the dish according to our choice. For children you can add potato, ground nuts etc. to make it more nutritious. If it is for an elderly or an infant, or for someone who wants to lose weight, it is better to include other vegetables like tomato, beans, onion etc. Or you can just put in curd with little salt or milk by adding sugar.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna