Poha is an extremely popular breakfast option in India. It is nothing but rice that has been parboiled, rolled, flattened and then dried to produce flakes.
You can mix a variety of things while cooking Poha. Some Poha is thick while some are thin.
There are various types of Poha and they all taste really good. It is also known as flattened rice or beaten rice.
Some people add onions, potatoes, tomatoes, groundnuts, curry leaves, green chillies and a variety of spices, specifically turmeric and salt for seasoning. Poha can be spicy as well as a little sweet sometimes.
Health benefiting properties of Poha:
Poha contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in every serving. It gives about 180 calorie per serving which consists of carbohydrates (mostly energy-giving), protein, fibre, fat and cholesterol.
It contains vitamins such as A, B1, B3, C, Folic Acid. It also has many minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium and Zinc. (Tarla Dalal)
Poha has a low glycemic index and cholesterol-reducing properties. There are many ways you can cook this delicious snack and it is bound to taste good with so many healthy properties.
Health Benefits of Eating Poha:
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
High levels of fibre in Poha or flattened rice can slow down the absorption of glucose in the blood.
Studies have suggested how high fibre food can be very beneficial for diabetics as they promote insulin production and reduce insulin resistance.
For best results, doctors always advise diabetes patients to never stay hungry or fast in the morning. Having one serving of Poha is a healthy way to kickstart your day.
Works as a Probiotic
Poha’s process of manufacturing and making is the reason it works as a good probiotic.
Once the rice is flattened, it is dried and hence, all the microbial flora is retained. This is very healthy for your gut health as it contains partially digested carbs and proteins.
Some people even prefer soaking the Poha in milk and having it for breakfast. It is said to treat many gut health problems.
About 75% of what you eat in one serving of Poha is purely energy-giving carbohydrates. About 23% of the rest is fats which is also a healthy fat.
It is hence a very healthy breakfast option even if you want to lose weight because your body still needs carbs to lose weight. We need these carbs from Poha as our body converts them into energy.
Easy to Digest
Instead of having a big packet of chips and then crying about your bloated belly and indigestion, having Poha can be the safest option you will ever get.
Poha can be your breakfast healthy option or even a very healthy dinner meal for the one’s who have IBS.
If you have IBS, including excessive onions and potatoes in Pohas should not be good. Avoid adding too many fatty substances and keep your Poha dish simple.
Rich In Iron
Pregnant women are often advised to have Poha as they are at a higher risk of gestational anaemia which happens to almost 50% of women.
When Poha is produced, it is required to pass so many iron rollers that it has a good iron content.
To ensure you absorb iron better from your Poha, you may add some groundnuts and squeeze a bit of freshly cut lemon so it tastes good too.
Good For Weight Loss
As mentioned above, one serving of Poha only has 180 calories in all. Adding vegetables to a dish of Poha would make it about 250 calories which is still better than a plate full of wafers that contain 400 calories of purely unhealthy fat.
People who want to lose weight effectively should consume Poha for breakfast without adding potatoes. Adding onions and green chillies should be great.
Good For Lactose Intolerance
Lactose Intolerance is a common problem these days, many people struggle to drink or eating foods with lactase enzyme in them as they find it very hard to digest.
Poha is a good option for people who suffer from Lactose Intolerance as it does not have lactase in it.
Rich Source of B Vitamins
Poha contains a lot of Vitamin B content that is produced when Poha is flattened and taken through all its production process.
As we all know, Vitamin Bs are needed to improve our energy, cell division and body organs and functions.
Vitamin B deficiency can make us very weak and fatigue is a common symptom. Such people should always consume Poha in the morning to get their bit of B Vitamins.
Rich In Magnesium
Poha fulfils about 13% of our daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium is very crucial to maintain nerve function and a normal heartbeat.
It also serves us with a good amount of potassium. Poha can hence be consumed by people struggling with heart diseases or hypertension.
Can be Consumed in Variety
There are various ways to consume Poha. Indians have different recipes to consume flattened rice.
Some eat Kanda Poha, some eat Batata Poha. Some even make Poha Chivda, Sprout Matki Poha and Salad-like Poha. You can choose your favourite recipe and prepare it regularly.
Side-Effects of consuming Poha:
“Nutritionists acknowledge poha's high nutrient value and recommend it as one of the healthiest Indian breakfasts. “Poha is a wholesome meal.
It is a good source of carbohydrates, packed with iron, rich in fibre, a good source of antioxidants and essential vitamins and is gluten free.” (HindustanTimes) The side effects are very rarely seen in people who eat it in excess.
Consuming Raw Poha may cause your stomach to pain and bloat.
Having Poha with a highly acid substance like tea or coffee can cause acidity in people with IBS.
Raw Poha should not be consumed, if your Poha hasn’t been cooked well, it may cause gas, acidity or heartburn too.
Adding too many chillies to your Poha can irritate your digestive system and harm your bowel movements too.
Poha should be eaten regularly but in a limit. Eating anything in excess may harm you.
See what suits you the best and only add those ingredients. Avoid adding too many spices.