Ayurvedic porridge to protect your cardiac function

Ayurvedic porridge

A healthy and warming breakfast with pictures by Petr Chutný

The ingredients benefits

Hemp milk

Hemp seeds contain 20-25% protein, 20-30% carbohydrates, 25-35% lipids, 10-15% insoluble fibres, vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, and zinc (1).

The 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (linoleic and α-linolenic acids) is considered the easiest to absorb and very beneficial for human health.

In particular, intake of ω-3 fatty acids has been linked to reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers (for example breast cancer), inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and asthma) 2.

Furthermore, hemp seeds are rich in lignanamides (3). These compounds display diverse biological activities, including anti-inflammatory activity.

Because of all these nutrients, hemp seeds have demonstrated positive health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, improving the cardiovascular system, and immunomodulatory effects (3).

They also have antioxidant and antiaging effects, with the potential to improve the impaired learning and memory induced by certain drugs (3).


To make 1 L of hemp milk, you only need:

  • 1 litre of water
  • 100 g of hemp seeds
  • any flavours like cinnamon, vanilla pods, or agave syrup.

Soak these ingredients overnight, blend them the next day, and filter them through a cheese cloth.


Oat (Avena sativa) is distinct among the cereals because of its rich nutritional profile.

Oats and oat bran in particular are a good source of fat, proteins, B complex vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, and copper (4).

Oats are also rich in a soluble dietary fibre called beta-glucan.

This has outstanding properties and plays a role in lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, and also attenuates glucose levels after a meal (postprandial plasma glucose).

This occurs because soluble fibres bind to bile acids in the intestinal tract and increase their excretion. Because bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol, their excretion indirectly lowers the levels of cholesterol in the body.

Because of this, consumption of oat-rich foods may reduce the risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease (4).

Furthermore, fibres slow down the emptying of food from the stomach into the intestine, and therefore glucose is released into the blood at a lower rate.

This is the reason why a fibre-rich diet is recommended to prevent type II diabetes (5).


Oats also contain more than 20 unique polyphenols, which have shown strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative activity in vivo. Anti-proliferative agents tend to inhibit cell growth, an activity that is often over-stimulated in cancer cells.

Because of these properties, oats may provide additional protection against heart disease and cancer, especially colon cancer (6).


Walnuts contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially omega-3 fatty acids. These offer potential benefits to brain health.

PUFAs have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity on brain cells, and have shown to improve interneural signalling (the communication between nerve cells), increase neurogenesis (the creation of new connections between nerves), and enhance sequestration of insoluble toxic protein aggregates (7).

Alzheimer’s disease, for example, has been linked with deposits of aggregates of amyloid proteins in the brain that are toxic to nerve cells (8).

www.petrchutny.cz   Walnuts are also rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as gamma-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E), melatonin (a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm of sleep), beta-sitosterol (a phytosterol), and selenium (9,10).

In addition, these polyphenols have been shown to enhance the antioxidant effects of nutrients in walnuts and other food, such as vitamin C, alfa-tocopherol, and gamma-tocopherol.

This means that eating walnuts with other antioxidant- and anti-inflammatory-rich foods increases the beneficial effects of these nutrients (9).

Inflammation is associated with cancer, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases (10).


Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that owes its colour to curcumin, a polyphenol which can modulate some signalling pathways within our bodies (11). Recent studies have been focusing on the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-proliferative effects of curcumin (12,13,14,15).

Curcumin is hydrophobic, meaning it can dissolve in fats but not water. Because of this, curcumin is more likely to cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the brain (15).

Curcumin has been reported to be anti-amyloidogenic, meaning that it can reduce the formation of amyloid proteins in the brain and therefore reduce the risk to develop or worsen Alzheimer’s disease (15).

Curcumin’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities reduce free-radical damage in the nerves and therefore have an overall beneficial effect on the brain. However, curcumin exhibits low bioavailability due to its hydrophobicity and inactivation by the liver (most of intestinal contents are scanned by the liver before continuing the journey through the intestinal tract) (15).www.petrchutny.cz

Curcumin has been shown to modulate multiple cell-signalling pathways simultaneously, thereby lowering the risk of developing or worsening certain cancers (including multiple myeloma, colorectal, pancreatic, breast, prostate, and lung cancers).

Studies have also failed to show any side effects linked with curcumin (13).

Because current cancer therapies target only one or few pathways, can be expensive, and have serious side effects, curcumin has a potential to be integrated with or replace cancer therapies (13).


Ginger has a long history of medicinal use dating back 2500 years.

Current research has focused on the many health benefits of ginger linked to its phenolic substances, collectively known as gingerols.

In particular, 6-gingerol has been linked to anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative effects (16).

This is because 6-gingerol is involved in a variety of biological pathways such as apoptosis (programmed cell-death), cell-cycle regulation, and angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels, essential to provide nutrients to all cells – including cancer cells)16.

Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of ginger extract (mainly consisting of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenoids) against cold and flu, morning and motion sickness and vomiting caused by chemotherapy (17). This is why it can be helpful to drink ginger tea to treat nausea and flu.


Furthermore, ginger has been shown effective in preventing gastric ulcers cause by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin), ethanol (alcohol), and reserpine (an anti-psychotic and anti-hypertensive drug commonly known as Raudixin, Serpalan, or Serpasil) (18).

Porridge recipe

(serves 1)

  • 40 g of oats
  • 280 mL water or hemp milk
  • One (or more) teaspoon(s) of turmeric
  • Pinch of salt
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cardamom and pepper
  • One clove
  • A handful of walnuts, in pieces
  • Half a banana, mashed or half an apple, grated
  • Half an inch of ginger, grated

Soak the oats with water, salt, banana (or apple), walnuts, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and turmeric overnight.
In the morning heat it all up on medium heat, and start stirring when it is boiling.
When the porridge thickens to your favourite consistency, remove the pan from the heat and serve with the grated ginger.
You can add a teaspoon of agave syrup, horseradish, or raisins to your taste.

Enjoy! (आनंद लें!)

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  1. Montserrat-de la Paz, S. et al. 2014. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed oil: analytical and phytochemical characterization of the unsaponifiable fraction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 62: 1105-1110.

  2. Simopoulos, A. P. 2002. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 56(8): 365-379.

  3. Jan, X. et al. 2015. Characterization of lignanamides from hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seed and their antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activities. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 63(49): 10611-10619.

  4. Sadiq Butt, M. 2008. Oat: a unique among the cereals. European Journal of Nutrition. 47(2): 68-79.

  5. Hou, Q. et al. 2015. The metabolic effects of oats intake in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 7(12): 10369-10387.

  6. Meydani, M. 2009. Potential health benefits of avenanthramides of oats. Nutrition Reviews. 67(12): 731-735.

  7. Poulose, S. M. Miller, M. G. Shukitt-Hale, B. 2014. Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age. Journal of Nutrition. 144(4 Supplement): 5615-5665.

  8. Panegyres, P. K. Berry, R. Burchell, J. 2016. Early dementia screening. Diagnostics (Basel). 6(1): pii:E6.

  9. Kris-Etherton, P. M. 2014. Walnuts decrease risk of cardiovascular disease: a summary of efficacy and biologic mechanisms. Journal of Nutrition. 144(4 Supplement): 5475-5545.

  10. Toner, C. D. 2014. Communicating clinical research to reduce cancer risk through diet: walnuts as a case example. Nutrition Research and Practice. 8(4): 347-351.

  11. Ghorbani, Z. Hekmatloost, A. Mirmiran, G. 2014. Anti-hyperglycemic and insulin sensitizer effects of turmeric and its principle constituent curcumin. International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 12(4): 180-81.

  12. Krishnaswamy, K. 2008. Traditional Indian spices and their health significance. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 17 (Supplement 1): 265-268.

  13. Devassy, J. G. Nwachukwu, I. D. Jones, P. J. 2015. Curcumin and cancer: barriers in obtaining a health claim. Nutritional Reviews. 73(3): 155-165.

  14. Srinivasan, K. 2014. Antioxidant potential of spices and their active constituents. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 54(3): 352-372.

  15. Chin, D. et al. 2013. Neuroprotective properties of curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease – merits and limitations. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 20(32): 3955-3985.

  16. Wang, S. et al. 2014. Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review. Natural Product Communications. 9(7): 1027-1030.

  17. Khodaie, C. Sadeghpoor, O. 2015. Ginger from ancient times to the new outlook. Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products. 10(1): 1840-2.

  18. Haniadka, R. et al. 2013. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Food & Function. 4(6): 845-855.

Solange Brugnatelli Vianini

Solange Brugnatelli Vianini graduated in BSc Biomedical Sciences. In her free time she enjoys trying out new recipes and sharing them with friends, and marrying this passion with her interest in sustainability, which is driving her actions towards reduced landfill waste, carbon footprint and animal products consumption. She cures a monthly recipe column on Nature Going Smart "with disease prevention in mind and planet care on the heart". Solange is currently researching genetic mutations by honing her bioinformatic skills at Abertay University, Scotland.

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