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My Kitchen Series - Functional Foods

#WednesdayWisdom #MyKitchen #Series

‘My Kitchen Series - Concepts for a Healthy Family’ by Dt. Vaidehi Nawathe, Chief Dietician – Bhaktivedanta Hospital & Research Institute

#FunctionalFoods which are not a part of the daily diet routine, can be easily incorporated into the kitchen spice box as seasonings that can be used in vegetable / chapatti atta / dal / salad / soup / chutney preparation to enhance flavour, increase nutritive value, prevent diseases and manage our health status.

By definition ‘Functional Food’ is any healthy food, consumed as a part of a normal diet, having biologically active components, claimed to have a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients.

Some examples of Functional Foods are, Ajwain (Carom Seeds), Aliv/Halim (Garden Cress Seeds), Alshi (Flax Seeds), Amla (fresh/dried), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Jeshti-Madhu/Mulethi (Licorice), Kali Miri (Black Pepper), Methi Dana (Fenugreek Seeds), Saunf (Fennel Seeds), Til (Sesame Seeds – white/black), etc.

Let’s look at the health benefits of consuming Cinnamon and Fenugreek Seeds on a regular basis.


  • Acts as a powerful Anti-oxidant

  • Improves the body’s ability to respond to Insulin, thus normalising the blood sugar levels

  • Stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thus significantly increasing cells’ ability use glucose

  • Its fibre content helps in reducing Total Cholesterol, LDL level and Serum Triglycerides level

Fenugreek Seeds

  • The aromatic, bitter dried seeds are Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Insulinotropic [Glucagon like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) to improve glucose tolerance] in nature

  • Contain an Amino Acid called 4-Hydroxyisoleucine, which stimulates the secretion of Insulin by the Pancreas and reduces Insulin resistance

  • Raise the number of receptors for Insulin in Red Blood Cells and help peripheral tissues to better utilise the Glucose