Age to age and around the world, food has been used to heal and prevent all kinds of sickness. Though it’s nothing new to use food as medicine, the term “superfood” has been making its rounds to classify food that is “extra beneficial” healthwise.
Sure, we have the famous kale and kombucha that is famous for its bajillion benefits but for those of us living in Malaysia, these products come with a hefty price tag. Still, that does not mean we cannot enjoy other superfoods and guess what? Quite a few of them are found locally, in your local “pasar”.
Let’s take a look at a few of them that are easily found in the wet markets and will not cost you a pretty penny either.
The name “moringa” may not ring a bell with most people but say the words “drumstick tree” and everyone quickly goes “ohhh….”
Grown throughout Africa and South and South-east Asia, the leaves and fruits of this skinny and sparse tree packs quite a nutritional punch. The plant has even been touted by Time Magazine as the “next quinoa”.
Moringa contains the full complement of amino acids, and is a good source of vitamins C and A, and various minerals. It is also a good plant-based protein source as research has shown that it contains the full complement of amino acids.
How do you cook moringa? Well, you can add its long fruit (chopped of course) to curries or add its leaves to soups. You can even deep fry the leaves and use it as a garnish or a bed to serve your main on.
Next up, we have the humble taro. Better known as “keladi” in Malay, this tuber is often confused with its above-ground growing cousin, the yam.
Taro has a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. It is also purple and we all know how naturally-purple produce are chock-full of nutrients, right?
This starchy vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin B-6, as well as a good source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.” Taro also contains other B vitamins, including b1, b2, b3, b5 and folate, all of which are involved in energy, metabolism, and red blood cell production. It also contains minerals like copper and zinc which are important for thyroid health. Just so you know, a healthy thyroid equals a healthy metabolism, which means it is easier to maintain a healthy weight.
You can steam or boil the taro, mash it and mix in some shredded coconut, coconut milk and sugar to make a simple dessert. If you’re craving french fries, well this makes a healthier alternative. Just cut them up, sprinkle some salt, pepper and chilli powder (or any seasoning of your choice). Toss in some olive oil and bake them for about 30 minutes until cooked through.
Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage popular in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine.
This cruciferous vegetable has been touted to fight cancer, support bone and eye health, promote good digestion and fight inflammation.
The leafy vegetable contains high amounts of essential vitamins. For example, just one cup of shredded bok choy containing more than the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A and about 30% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. They also contain the sulphur-based compound isothiocyanates which promote cancer cell death.
Its folate content also plays a part in protecting DNA and could prevent cancer cells from forming due to DNA mutations. Selenium, a tumor-inhibiting element is also found in bok choy. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
Bok Choy is popularly used in stir-fries and has a slightly sweet yet peppery flavour. If you’re short on time, even just steaming it and drizzling with a little oyster sauce can make for a highly palatable dish.
MIFB is the largest Food and Beverage Focused Trade event in the country which offers a platform for businesses from the industry to showcase their products and services at an international level. In conjunction with 20th Anniversary, MIFB has started its first-ever nationwide roadshow from Northern to Southern Malaysia and this successful journey continues to East Malaysia. If you are looking to introduce, exchange, and learn about the latest innovation and technologies then MIFB is the place to be.