3 healthy things to try in Sri Lanka
Over the years on the road I realized that the healthier I eat, the more energy I have for exploring the new destinations. I made a habit of trying many healthy things in each destination I visit. Why? Because local natural herbs, local seasonal fruit and veggies and natural cosmestics are always the best and the most fresh when used in the same destination where they ripe, right? I even started buying healthy souvenirs for my family and friends, instead of just getting them anything from my trips. Keep reading to find out 5 healthy things to try in Sri Lanka. Hope to inspire you to not only try them while there, but maybe also buy some for your loved ones.
3 healthy things to try in Sri Lanka
1. Ceylon tea
It all started back in 1824 when the British smuggled a tea plant from China to Sri Lanka. A few years later more tea plants were brought from India. Since then, the climate in the country has shown it was a very good business idea to plant tea. Nowadays, around 4% of the country, mostly in Central Sri Lanka, are covered in tea plantations.
Tea production is one of the main income sources in Sri Lanka.
Of course, the best tea will be bought directly at the tea factories after being picked up in their backyard at tea plantations. However, if you don’t get a chance to visit one, you will find many tea shops scattered around Sri Lanka. Different kinds of Ceylon tea can be found also in grocery shops. I recommend you to try green tea, white (usually the most expensive one) and also black tea which is the most popular among locals.
Locals usually drink black tea with milk. You know, one of those British traditions.
2. Ceylon cinnamon
Cinnamon is supposed to be one of the healthiest spices in the world. Personally, I love to add it into my sweet meals, desserts, smoothies and fruit bowls. I guess you’ve heard there are 2 types of cinnamon which proceed from 2 different trees: Ceylon (true/pure) cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is a tree native to Sri Lanka (which was formerly called Ceylon, hence the name).
Cinnamon controls blood sugar and has many other benefits. Ceylon cinnamon has lower levels of Coumarin than Cassia cinnamon, which means cinnamon from Sri Lanka is healthier.
Around 80 to 90% of world Ceylon cinnamon is still produced in Sri Lanka. The rest is mostly made in Madagascar and Seychelles. There’s a couple of cinnamon farms around Sri Lanka where you can observe how cinnamon is made. In the same places you can even buy fresh cinnamom sticks, powder, cinnamon oil or even taste cinnamon tea there.
Just from the smell you will know that Ceylon cinnamon is more fresh there than bought from any grocery shop where it has been stored in a package for who knows how long. I bought a couple of packs of both sticks and powder and my mum was super happy when I brought them home.
Until I went to Sri Lanka, I had not heard of samahan. Actually, two of my Instagram followers told me I should get it. So I went looking for it at grocery shops and drugstores interested in checking the ingredients first. Samahan is herbal tea made of 100% herbs based on Ayurvedic principles. I believe it’s the extract of 14 different herbs, such as ginger, coriander, cumin, liquorice, black pepper etc. You just mix it with hot water and drink warm to relieve cold related symptoms, running nose and cough. I bought some home for me and my dad and let me tell you, it’s quite spicy but it seemed working pretty well.
Samahan might be a great natural souvenir to get for your family and friends. It’s small and packed in packets so easy to travel with.
When speaking of Ayurveda, many other Ayurvedic natural products are widely sold in Sri Lanka. Look for Ayurvedic massage oils, natural repellent, essential oils, body creams, hair oil, tooth powder or toothpaste. Remember that you always want a toothpaste with a green stripe on it which means it’s 100% natural.
I do NOT mean a grean circle vs brown circle mark (reddish) you might see when labeling food and products in Sri Lanka and India.
Here green dot mark means lacto-vegetarian; while red dot mark means non-lacto-vegetarian, so also with meat/fish/eggs etc.
Besides a dot mark there’s also a colored stripe label on the back side of the toothpaste. Green means all-natural. Other colors are blue, red and black. All those stripes except green are not natural.
TIP 1: Did you know that Sri Lanka is sometimes called Little India? Why? What are some of the similarities and differences between Sri Lanka vs India? Check them out in my other post.
TIP 2: After spending a month in Southern Sri Lanka, I wrote an article focusing on things you need to know about Southern Sri Lanka. Hope you find the information useful.
Do you know any other healthy things to try in Sri Lanka? Of course, I should mention also all the exotic fruit and young coconuts. But besides that? Would you add anything else? Please share in the comments below.