I had the amazing opportunity to spend a month on a food adventure in Thailand. During my time there, I fell in love with the kind and warm Thai people. I also became absolutely fascinated with the freshness and zest of Thai Food. In each and every delicious meal I enjoyed in Thailand, my plate was filled with fresh and local ingredients from the outdoor markets. Walking through the Thai Food Markets, I experienced the greatest of foodieland adventure. Filled with sweet and tangy fruits, crispy and fresh veggies, and magnetic and charismatic farmers, Thai markets are treasured destinations for foodies and excellent places to discover some of the world’s most delicious and nutritious foods! In this post I am sharing some of my favorite Thai Farmers Market finds!

Here are 3 Thai Superfoods you should absolutely add to your plate

 

papaya

Papaya

Nutrition Benefits:

Papaya is a rich source of the following: Vitamin A (31%, of DV) Vitamin C (144% of DV), Calcium (3% of DV), Folate (13% of DV), Potassium (10% of DV), Papain Enzyme, and Carpaine Enzyme.

Food is Medicine­ What does this mean for your health?

Folate, a vitamin found in papayas, is needed to promote healthy fetal development and prevent brain and spine birth defects during early pregnancy. In addition, healthy folate levels have been shown to reduce colon cancer risk. Folate also helps reduce homocysteine (an amino acid) in the blood­ which is crucial for heart health. High homocysteine levels are linked to damage in your arteries.

Papaya contains an enzyme called papain. Papain can help with digestion, since it breaks down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. If you have digestion issues due to IBS, celiac, and other malabsorption conditions, adding papaya to your diet is a great way to naturally boost your digestive system.

Carpaine, found in papaya, has been shown to lower blood pressure, kill certain parasites, and promote central nervous system health.

Recommended Portion: 

½ cup for diabetics, 1 cup for everyone else

In your kitchen: 

In Thailand, grated green papaya is used to make salads. You can also use ripe papaya in smoothies or add it to oatmeal. Papaya skin and leaves can also be boiled and steeped to make an earthy, slightly bitter herbal tea.

Thai Mango

Mango

Nutrition Benefits

Mango is a great source of the following: Vitamin A (25%), Vitamin C (76%), Copper 9%, Vitamin E (9%) and K (9%). Mangoes also contain Zeaxanthin.

Food is Medicine­ What does this mean for your health?

Vitamin A (a.k.a. beta-carotene) produces sebum to moisturize hair and skin. Beta carotene and polyphenols in mango are also protective against prostate cancer and other types of cancer.

Increased consumption of beta carotene = decreased risk of colon, breast, and lung cancer and leukemia.

The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in mangos has been shown to help prevent macular degeneration (cataracts) and promote eye health.

Recommended Portion:

½ cup for diabetics, 1 cup (or a whole fruit) for everyone else

In your kitchen

In Thailand, green mango is used to make delicious salads (stay tuned for recipe). You can also add mango to fruit bowls and smoothies.

Tamarind

Tamarind

Nutrition Benefits:

Tamarind is a great source of the following: Calcium (9% of DV), Iron (19% of DV), Protein (7% of DV), Thiamin (34% of DV), Magnesium (22% of DV), phosphorus (14% of DV).

Food is Medicine­ What does this mean for your health?

Tamarind is super nutritious and great for your health since it contains high levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Magnesium, Phosphorus!

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) found in tamarind is needed to convert food into energy. It is also a super beauty vitamin since it is crucial in promoting healthy skin, hair, and muscles. Thiamin has been shown to improve mood, since it promotes healthy brain function.

Magnesium in tamarind is important in heart health as it regulates blood pressure, blood clotting and muscle contractions. Magnesium has also been shown to help boost mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Phosphorus, also found in tamarind, is essential for DNA/RNA repair and production. Furthermore, phosphorus is needed to convert food into energy and in transportation of nutrients within our cells. Both Magnesium and Phosphorus are needed for strong bones and pearly white teeth.

Recommended Portion:

Use freely as needed to spice up dishes or to make a juice drink.

In Your Kitchen

You can purchase tamarind fresh, frozen, or in paste form. Use it as a seasoning for your favorite veggie soup or noodle stir-­fry. Just make sure that the tamarind you buy does not have added sugar, high amounts of added salt, or artificial preservatives! Tamarind can also be used to make fresh and tangy beverages. Stay tuned for recipe.

 

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