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Mithai: a new age guilt-free indulgence

Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 12:09 Hrs  [IST]

The mithai industry business in India has always been soaring, thanks to the sweet tooth of Indians. There are innumerable variants of mithais which are not only customary in Indian traditions but an excellent way to “reach people's heart via their stomach” – as the saying goes. However, with the population making an intentional shift towards gluten-free and guilt-free edibles, there is a need to revamp the conventional ways and jack it up with something which resonates well with the health-conscious approach of people. Aiding the mithai industry in doing this, walnuts have stepped in as the revolutionary ingredients for Indian sweets. 

The mithai shops and businesses offering mithais are making a significant difference as they innovate with the wonder-nuts - walnuts. Giving a whole new avatar to mithais, walnuts provide the appropriate amount of crunch and flavour balance as they complement the sweetness of mithai with the buttery, yet guilt-free, taste. 

Consuming plant-based foods of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. The combination of healthy fats, protein, and fibre in walnuts helps to increase satisfaction and fullness. Either singly or combined with other foods, walnuts are healthy as snacks, and add-ons in salads and bakeries, smoothies, Indian curries and of course mithais and desserts.

Walnuts aid in eating healthy and consuming good fats. This just seems to be another reason that the mithai industry can vouch for while increasing their business and profits aggressively. About 83% of a walnut’s fat content is unsaturated which makes for lower cholesterol levels, making the industry go responsible and healthy with their business and their intent to serve their customers rightly. 
(Source: Tindall AM, Kris-Etherton P, Petersen K. Replacing Saturated Fats With Unsaturated Fats From Walnuts or Vegetable Oils Lowers Atherogenic Lipoprotein Classes Without Increasing Lipoprotein(a). J Nutr. 2020;150(4):818-825. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz313.)

Neha Lakhani and Ashay Dhopatkar, Founders Arq Mithai share their thoughts on the benefits of walnuts and how they make for a responsible choice for the mithai industry - "Usually, people focus on other nuts in the mithai space, but we at Arq use walnuts as one of our main ingredients and play a lot around it. Walnuts are a very essential part for us at Arq , we make several mithais using walnuts and have even named one of it as a 'good walnut'; The core ethic behind arq is using sustainable, organic and good quality ingredients and that is something we don’t compromise on, hence we trust Californian walnuts for its quality and taste."   

 “One ounce (about a quarter cup, or 14 walnut halves) provides 18 grams of good fat, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre, nearly 50% of the daily target for manganese, and smaller amounts of magnesium, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. Manganese is a mineral that supports healthy bones and is needed for collagen production and wound healing. Walnuts are also packed with antioxidants known to possess anti-inflammatory effects,” said Harlene Bhasin, Clinical Nutritionist.

With the mithai sector dipping deeper into the guilt-free mithais, it is not only cutting down on cholesterol but also helping patrons' guts to stay healthy. One of the contributing factors of walnuts includes fuelling the gut microbiome (Source: Holscher HD, Guetterman HM, Swanson KS, et al. Walnut Consumption Alters the Gastrolntestlnal Mlcroblota, Microbially Derived Secondary Bile Acids, and Health Markers in Healthy Adults: A Randomized ControUed Trial.J Nutr. 2018;148[6): 861-867.). This makes for a good choice. Industry leaders are stepping up to bring accountability into their businesses while also creating a space which promotes healthy and responsible living.

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