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Nutritional value of Onasadya

Preethi R Nair, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, SUT Hospital, Pattom

Onam is a festival celebrated by Malayalees with one mind regardless of caste and religion. Malayalees cannot imagine Onam without Sadya. The dishes included in Onasadya are rich in minerals and nutritional value and are also healthy. A person gets all the nutrients he needs for a day from just one meal. Onasadya generally consists of only vegetarian food and may vary in different regions of Kerala. Every curry in Sadya has its own importance.


Chembavari rice is rich in Vitamin B and magnesium. It contains essential amino acids and gamma-amino butyric acid. It prevents the rise of cholesterol levels in blood. Polyphenols in Chembavari rice have antioxidant properties.

Parippu curry, Papads and Ghee

Parippu curry is an indispensable dish for any sadhya. It is a good source of protein for vegetarians. It also helps to maintain healthy and youthful skin. Ghee contains high levels of butyric acid which helps to protect intestinal health. It also contains omega 3 fatty – acids, vitamin ‘A’ and healthy fats. The fatty acids present in it make the skin soft and glowing.

Ginger curry (Inji curry or Puliyinchi)

Ginger curry is considered as equivalent to 100 curries. It is a good remedy for digestive problems. Gingerol, a bioactive compound in ginger, helps reduce oxidative stress. It also restricts the entry of harmful bacteria and viruses in to the body.


Lemon and mango pickles are commonly used in sadhya. It is a good source of Vitamin ‘C’. It helps in weight loss by regulating the metabolism in our body. Green mangoes reduce body heat and regulate body temperature. It also protects from premature aging.


Cucumber and papaya are mainly used for kichadi. Cucumber exfoliates toxins from the body. It is a good remedy for people with acidity. Papaya is rich in iron, potassium, dietary fiber, beta-carotene and calcium. It also regulates blood sugar levels.


There are many varieties of Pachadi. Pachadi can be prepared by adding pineapple, beetroot or pumpkin. Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple helps in digestion of food. Beetroot contains betacyanin which lowers bad cholesterol level (LDL). Pumpkin is rich in vitamin ‘C’, ‘E’ and beta-carotene, magnesium and potassium. It helps to maintain and improve heart health.


Avial is one of the important dishes in Sadya, prepared with various vegetables and coconut. The fiber content in it helps to control body weight and fixes nutritional deficiencies. It is a storehouse of Vitamins and minerals.


Sambar is not only delicious but also has many health benefits. It is a mixture of various vegetables (snake gourd, cucumber, carrot, potato and drumstick). It is rich in fiber and relieves constipation. Dal is an important ingredient of sambar. So it is a protein rich dish.


Thoran can be prepared with a variety of vegetables. However, yam stalks and green gram were used to prepare thoran in the old Onasadya. Thoran is also prepared with cabbage and long beas. Sulforaphane and glutamine in cabbage act as anti-inflammatory agents.

Pulisseri (Kalan), curd, rasam

Buttermilk is the best solution for health care and beauty. It is rich in protein and improves muscle health. Buttermilk has a prominent place in the rich Onasadya. Milk contains beneficial bacteria for the human body. They fix intestinal and digestive problems. It is rich in nutrients like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and riboflavin. Rasam is a good alternative medicine against infections. Rasam prepared with spices helps in digestion.

Dessert (Payasam)

Onasadhya is not complete without Payasam. Various types of payasam are prepared for Onam. Adapradham and Palpayasam are commonly prepared. Payasam prepared with jaggery (Adapradham) is rich in elements like iron, zinc and potassium. Palpayasam is rich in calcium, phosphorus and protein.

Dried ginger water (Chukku vellam)

Don’t forget to drink a glass of Chukku vellam after having onasadhya. Chukku, with the properties of ginger has the ability to relieve the fatigue of having sadhya and helps in quick digestion of food.