Sweets play an important role in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. For many, these sweets are commonly part of their cravings. However, sugar has been dubbed the enemy of healthy living. For example, many people have long been fans of Halva. You can make this sweet dessert with sesame seeds and sugar. Some people put chocolate and fudge on top.
What keeps most health-conscious people away from Halva is the amount of sugar. Typical Halva is high in sugar and fat content. If you’re opting for a sugar cleanse, there are healthy yet delectable versions you can enjoy.
This article will explore healthy Halva. Let’s start by answering the question, “Is Halva healthy?”
Is Halva Healthy?
Halva is candy and is generally full of sugar and fat content. In a nutshell, it is not a good idea to eat Halva regularly. It’s not healthy to eat Halva every day, just as it isn’t healthy to eat any other candy every day.
Nonetheless, other alternative recipes can reduce the cholesterol levels and sugar in this dessert. That means that those who value healthy living, but have a sweet tooth can indulge now and then.
History of Halva
Although the history of this delicacy is hazy, many believe that it originated from Persia. In the seventh century, documented evidence of halva-like desserts made from dates and milk emerged.
However, the most prominent evidence was in a document called Kitab al-Tabikh, which means The Book of Dishes. That is a 13th century book that contains different types of sweets.
By this time, many countries had already made room for this candy in their cultural cuisine. Good examples are the Turks and Spanish.
What is the Composition of Halva?
You can make Halva in a variety of ways. You can make it from seeds that contain oil. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and wheat semolina are such items.
To make a sweet confection, mix these ingredients with other ingredients such as soy sauce and vanilla. Halva has two categories: flour-based and nut-based.
Flour Based Halva
This form of Halva is usually homemade and made from wheat flour coupled with other ingredients.
Roast the flour in a pan and then add sugar or sugar syrup afterward. For health-conscious eaters, avoid refined sugar. Alternatives can be local honey or maple syrup.
Halva, a nut-based confection, is commonly found in stores. However, some adventurous souls try making it at home.
The most common nut-based Halva is the sesame seed halva. Sunflower is another option, but it is not as common as sesame.
How to Make Sesame Halva
As stated before, sesame is a favorite Halva ingredient. Thanks to its nutty taste and health benefits. There are many ways to create this nut-based dessert. We will focus on two low-sugar recipes.
Sesame and Coconut
This recipe came to existence keeping in mind those who do not prefer the refined sugars found in most processed candy treats. The primary sugar source in this recipe is honey.
List of Ingredients
- 1 cup sesame seed
- 4 cups coconut oil
- ½ cup honey
- 1½ grated coconut
- 2 tsp vanilla
- In a food processor, put all the ingredients and process until smooth. Work it to a smooth paste with a dripping consistency.
- Pour it into a baking pan and smooth it out with a spatula.
- Please place it in a freezer and let it sit until it is frozen all over. That should take 40 minutes.
- Take it out and serve. Freeze it until you’re ready to use it.
As you’ll see, this is a straightforward recipe that can work for those on a diet, are lactose intolerant, and general health fanatics.
Tahini is sesame seed ground into a paste. That is another ingredient that can create a healthy version of this candy.
List of Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups roasted sesame paste (Tahini)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp lime or lemon juice
- 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
- 1/2 cup of water
Mix water and honey and heat the mixture in a saucepan over low heat, bringing it to a boil.
- In a separate saucepan, heat the sesame paste (tahini).
- Add the honey and water mixture to the heated sesame paste and mix it.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and serve. Place the Halva in the freezer if not in use.
These recipes are easy to make by following the above instructions. What’s better is that it can be consumed by those who have different allergies, such as lactose intolerance.
The white sugar alternatives – honey and maple syrup – aspects make it a better for those who do not like refined sugar or artificial sugar in the foods.
Cultural Significance of Halva
Halva has gained popularity worldwide. However, its popularity is in the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Europe.
Some Greek citizens, such as the Orthodox, use the Halva as a fasting treat. The Halva plays an excellent substitute for what they are fasting from, mostly meat.
Indians place great value on sweets such as Halva. They often use Halva in religious activities and cultural celebrations. Several varieties of Halva are also available in different places around the country.
Iran is known as the birthplace of Halva. Even though this is still up for discussion, Halva is considered a delicacy here. You can use it in conventional ceremonies such as funerals.
Israel also treasures Halva. It is known as Tahini Halvah in those parts of the world. That is sesame-based Halva going in shape and laced with different flavors. Chocolate and vanilla, according to popular belief, are the best choices.
Benefits of Halva
Halva is very beneficial to the body. It comes with minerals and natural fats that boost body functions.
- Sunflower-based Halva promotes food digestion due to its high fiber content. It is also beneficial in oxidizing the body, leveling beautiful and glowing skin.
- Nut-based Halva is rich in vitamin E. That is key in the body to enjoy a healthy reproductive system, great vision, brain health, and glowing skin.
- For breastfeeding mothers, it increases the energy value in the milk. It also improves the body’s immune system, especially the healing speed.
- Sesame seed halva is rich in minerals such as potassium which is crucial for the blood and heart.
- The calcium-rich sesame seed helps the body substantial bone mass and tissue. That can be very helpful with kids that are still growing.
- Sesame seed is also rich in Vitamin A and iron. Iron helps increase the level of blood in the body. Meanwhile, Vitamin A provides antioxidant properties. These properties have a significant effect on the general health of the body.
- The fatty acids in nuts such as peanuts help reduce cholesterol levels in blood vessels.
- Peanuts increase brain functionality and overall mental health. They also help in hormonal balance.
- As an antioxidant, peanuts have a general disposition as a healthy food. It will help in detoxifying the body generally.
- Peanuts also reduce the risk of diabetes. Recent research has shown that women are less likely to suffer from diabetes type 2 of peanuts are part of their diet.
Sweets are a favorite among kids and adults. However, they have a terrible reputation as being unhealthy. That is mainly because of the high sugar levels.
There are healthy alternatives in the market. Halva can be sweet without the bitter after-effects. Thanks to alternative ways to making Halva.
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