Bhutan, a country sandwiched between the economic and political powerhouses of China and India, with a population of just over 700,000, is known around the globe for its unconventional and uncommon measure of national development: Gross National Happiness. GNH is a development philosophy propounded by the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The concept implies that overall happiness of the people should hold more importance than the statistics of Gross Domestic Product. And in the effort to promote happiness for its people with the belief in the truth of the adage, “Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness”, Bhutan has aspired to be the first country in the world to make all of its homegrown food organic.
It must be understood that Bhutan, despite being small, has varying climate conditions in different parts of the country due to its diverse geographical mountainous terrain . While the southern foothills are hot and humid, mid-himalayan mountains are warm in summer and cool in winter, and the northern regions are cold throughout the year with snow and frozen glaciers. Additionally, the nation of Bhutan remained isolated from the rest of the world until the 1960s, which resulted in Bhutan developing its cuisine in a traditionally unique way — filled with health-promoting organic superfoods. Bhutanese people relied on a healthy organic superfood diet to boost their health during all those years of isolation and hence even to this day, organic agriculture is prioritized in the country.
Organic Ginger and Turmeric
Bhutanese organic fresh ginger is in high demand in both domestic and international markets due to its numerous uses and advantages. Ginger thrives in warm, humid climates, allowing farmers in southern Bhutan to cultivate it as their primary source of income in greenhouses, indoors, containers, and backyards.
In Asian cuisine, ginger and turmeric are highly prized spices for their medicinal properties. Ginger is one of the healthiest and most delicious spices. You can benefit from its high nutritional value and bioactive compounds.
The therapeutic effects of ginger are as follows:
- Treats nausea
- Reduces muscular tightness and pain
- lowers blood sugar levels
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Get rid of dyspepsia
- Enhances brain function
- Reduces cholesterol levels
With the current development and health benefits of turmeric in Bhutanese society, farmers are gradually adopting commercial production. Turmeric is a warm-season crop that thrives in humid environments. It is grown in Bhutan’s southern areas, where the temperature ranges from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Turmeric is used both as a religious offering and a cosmetic dye in Bhutan. It has been used around the world for thousands of years and has many health benefits.
The following are some of the health benefits of turmeric:
- Reduces the chance of cancer
- Enhances immunity
- Keeps hormones in check
- It aids with weight loss.
- Detoxifies the liver.
The Organic Ginger and Turmeric Tea by Bhutan Superfood and Herbs blend organic ginger and turmeric to provide you with maximum health benefits of both the herbs combined, in one sip. Additionally, such a mutant tea has been created to meet the growing demand for natural, organic foods while also allowing local farmers to earn a living via agriculture.
Commonly known as “super grain” or “superfood”, Quinoa is popular in Bhutan for being a climate-resilient and nutrient-dense crop, which could improve food and nutritional security for the people, as well as a possible specialty organic product for export. It grows in a variety of adverse environments, including erratic rainfall patterns, drought, and extreme heat and cold, suiting well to the diverse agro-ecological zones of the country. Quinoa’s adaptability makes it an appropriate crop for the Himalayan area as a whole.
The demand for Bhutanese quinoa continues to grow and it’s easy to see why. Quinoa contains a lot of fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. It is considered a complete protein source, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. This also makes quinoa beneficial for those who are following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Organic quinoa from Bhutan is one of the world’s healthiest and most nutritious foods. It can be used to make a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, and even desserts like cookies and cakes. This superfood is a popular ingredient in bread and cereal bars.
Health benefits of Quinoa:
- Lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease
- Lowers Blood Sugar and Improve Diabetes
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Anti-Inflammatory Food
- Helps you lose weight
Pure Puthka Honey
Bhutan Sour Honey, also known as “Puthka Honey,” is a superfood obtained by stingless Melipona bees. The stingless bee (Melipona) can be found in Bhutan’s protected areas between 700 and 1500 meters above sea level. It may extract more nutrition than conventional honey bees due to its small size. Each hive of stingless bees may produce roughly 700 grams of honey. Unlike conventional honey, puthka honey has a distinct flavor with a sweet-sour undertone. It’s more syrup-like and thinner.
Puthka honey’s health benefits have long been recognized, making it a favorite among health and wellness enthusiasts. It is seen as a luxurious remedy due to its scarcity and strong therapeutic properties. It’s well-known for its antibacterial properties, and it’s used in a variety of traditional medicines to treat sore throats, asthma, stomach ulcers, and other ailments.
Puthka honey can be used like regular honey to sweeten liquids, in cooking and baking various food recipes. You can also just drink it with a glass of warm water.
To learn more about Puthka honey, you can read our blog post: what is Puthka Honey and why is it good for you
Bhutanese Red rice
Various kinds of rice are grown in paddies throughout Bhutan, making rice one of the primary subsistence crops. Bhutanese people eat rice on a daily basis. It is used as a basic starch and is steamed, boiled, fried, and roasted.
However, organic Bhutanese red rice is the most sought-after form of rice. It is seen as a staple food as well as a Bhutanese delicacy. A visit to houses in the eastern and western parts of the country would get you red rice served with Emadatshi (Bhutan’s national dish of Chilli cheese) and Suja (Butter Tea). Grown in the fertile soil of Paro Valley, which receives glacier water rich in minerals, red rice is easier and faster to cook due to it being only partially milled. Accordingly, Organic red rice from Bhutan has an intriguing nutty flavor and is an ideal carbohydrate source that’s also gluten-free. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and is also high in vitamin B6. Red rice is abundant in fibers and macronutrients and has a low glycemic index, making it good for heart health and weight loss. Because of red rice’s anti-aging and skin-rejuvenating effects, extracts from the cereal are becoming more widespread in cosmetic goods.
Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour
Wheat is the most consumed cereal in Bhutan after rice. Grown over an area of 1,964 hectares, wheat production in Bhutan amounted to a total of 1 thousand tonnes in 2020. Although it has been considered as a secondary cereal, its contribution to the Bhutanese farming system in terms of food and other requirements has been highly acknowledged. Wangduephodrang, one of the largest dzongkhags(district) of Bhutan is also the largest producer of wheat in Bhutan.
Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour by Bhutan Superfood and Herbs is made from wheat kernels that have been allowed to sprout, just before the beginning of the process of a seed growing into a plant. After the sprouting takes place, the kernels are manually dried in the sun. Then starts the next process of grounding the dried kernels into a lovely, soft whole-grain flour. Plus point, the whole process is organic.
Sprouting has been considered more desirable because it releases vitamins, activates enzymes, and makes grains more digestible, making it friendly with those people with mild wheat sensitivities.
The benefits of Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour are many. To name a few- it boasts of more nutrients and the body digests sprouted grains more quickly. The reason for sprouted flour being easily digestible is that the starches in them have been broken down into simple sugars. Additionally, the sprouting process reduces phytic acid which is a naturally-occurring component of the bran and outer layers of many grains including wheat. Phytic acid can be problematic because it prevents phosphorus and other minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron from being absorbed. Thus, sprouting is a way to increase the bio-availability of whole wheat’s nutrition and to reduce the number of minerals used by the body to process whole grains. Sprouting grains also enhance antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamins B2, B5, and B6, and carotene. It also has the added benefit of neutralizing phytic acid, which prevents the body from absorbing nutrients during digestion.
Bhutan has embraced the goal of becoming the world’s first 100% organic nation. It goes in line with the farmers’ and the producers’ inclination to live in harmony with nature, which ultimately is the path to Gross National Happiness. While the goal has been viewed as being ambitious to some extent, the effort to realize it has been steady and consistent. Taste of Bhutan takes pride in being a part of this goal. It takes immense glory in meeting the growing need for natural and organic food while parallelly providing a platform for local farmers to earn their living via agriculture. Be a part of this conscious race by adding these superfoods of Bhutan to your diet plan and start your journey to a happier and healthier life.