Friday, July 04, 2014

Poha — Powerhouse of nutrition

Poha is one of the few Indian dishes that can be had for breakfast, lunch or even as a snack. Made from flattened or beaten rice, it can be prepared in a jiffy and is highly nutritious too. Rice is parboiled, flattened and dried to make the thin flakes that we call poha. All over India, poha is made in many different ways making it a very versatile dish. Here we look at the many nutrition benefits of the humble poha.

Packed with iron: Eating poha regularly can prevent iron deficiency or anaemia as it contains 20 mg of iron in every 100g raw rice flakes. Children as well as pregnant and lactating women can benefit greatly by consuming it. Softened poha is also a great way to add dietary iron when an infant is weaned from breastmilk. Sufficient iron helps the body to form haemoglobin that carries oxygen to body cells and also builds immunity. Squeeze a cut lemon on the poha as it helps improve iron absorption.

A complete meal: Mixed vegetables can be added to rice flakes to make it rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Add sprouts, soya nuggets, peanuts and even boiled eggs to make a well-balanced and high-protein meal. Poha also makes a tasty and healthy packed lunch for toddlers as well as office goers. Opt for beaten rice made from brown rice for an extra health boost. Here are some more quick breakfast options. 

A good source of carbs: Carbohydrates are the major source of energy in a bowl of poha. This makes it a perfect breakfast option. It can be eaten for snack too in the place of unhealthy options such as chips and biscuits. Carbohydrates are needed to help our body store energy, and perform various other functions. But getting your carb intake from healthy sources is vital and poha is one healthy source. 

Very low on gluten: These days, many people are cutting down on food grains like wheat and barley even if they aren’t sensitive to gluten. These people can opt for poha as it has very low amounts of gluten. People who have celiac disease should consult their doctor if they can eat poha without causing bloating or stomach pain. They can eat khichdi too as it is very healthy. Here are some health benefits of khichdi. 

Good for diabetics: Poha is considered to be a great meal option for diabetics as it promotes slow release of sugar into the bloodstream. It also keeps you full for longer time. A single serving is enough to keep you going without hunger pangs and reach for unhealthy sweets and junk food. Add chunks of soya to increase its nutritive value. You can also try this sample diet plan for diabetics. 

To avoid monotony, make it by incorporating many different ingredients. Each state in India has their own version of this dish. Try this mixed sprouts poha for breakfast. 

Given below is the calorie count in 1 katori of poha: 

Vegetable Poha- 244 Kcal

Peanut Poha- 589 Kcal

Huli Avalakki- 222 Kcal

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