Superfoods and South Asian culture

Shefali Saxena Monday 29th August 2022 10:33 EDT

Kash Atwal is co-founder of Operate, the UK’s first nootropic sports drink. Each bottle is low in calories, has no added or refined sugars, and is full of vitamins and minerals, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and a range of superfood ingredients. Operate is specifically designed to deliver the best nutritional hydration without compromising on taste. Here’s his exclusive Q&A with Asian Voice: 



Please tell us a bit about your family, background and education.


Both Malv Hayer and I (co-founders of OPERATE Drinks) are from a working-class background and were brought up in Hall Green in Birmingham.  We are now in the property business focused on lettings and development. I studied in Solihull at Tudor Grange and have been in the family business since I was 17 years old when I left school. As we are both into fitness, we decided to start to OPERATE Drinks together as we both had the same passion to create a drink that did so much more than just hydrate. 

What are superfoods? 


Our innovative drinks include both superfoods and nootropics.


Essentially, to be classed as a superfood a particular food or drink must be dense in beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, while being relatively low in calories. Superfoods are mostly plant-based but ingredients such as salmon are included within their number. 


Nootropics are drugs, supplements, and other substances that are claimed to improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, attention, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.


Whereas superfoods and other nutritional ingredients are often referred to in terms of physical benefits and disease prevention, nootropics are substances – whether in the form of foods, supplements or drugs – which boost cognitive function. 


So, by including these in a hydrating, refreshing sports drink you get lots of benefits with every sip!


What is the importance and legacy of superfoods in South Asian culture?


Most people will have heard of the tradition of Ayurveda in India which goes back 5000 years. Its holistic approach means that it encompasses health, diet and food including herbs, for example, the superfood Ashwagandha.  


It is often referred to as Ayurvedic medicine, however, it can be seen as a lifestyle system that aims to heal and improve overall wellbeing.  The Sanskrit word means ‘knowledge of life’. Other traditions include Unani, developed from the medical tradition of Islam, which also includes herbal remedies/superfoods. Whatever community you are from in South Asia, influences from traditions of these kinds can be seen.


Please give us some insight into your brand and how can it help our readers.


We want to help people lead a healthy lifestyle and we wanted to create a product that helps your mind and body perform when you need it most.  That’s what OPERATE is all about.


We launched OPERATE with three flavours:


Raspberry and cranberry – to help speed recovery after exercise

This drink contains natural raspberry and cranberry juices plus Ashwagandha extract to help you recover from the mental and physical exertion of exercise. Amino acids help your muscles recover, whilst the naturally occurring antioxidants and polyphenols in green tea and goji berries will ensure you’re enjoying the benefits of your workout for longer. 


Lemon and Yuzu – to give you a boost

Enjoy the natural zingy flavours of yuzu and lemon to keep you refreshed with none of the guilt. Natural caffeine from green tea gives you a pick-me-up whilst the Vitamin B-blend contributes to an energy-yielding metabolism. Acetyl-L-carnitine can help improve your memory thinking skills making both your body and mind work in harmony.


Peach and Green Tea – to perk up your energy levels

Power your workout with the aid of Vitamin B3 which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, L-theanine, found in green tea, is used as a supplement to boost mental function, whilst the naturally occurring caffeine will kick-start your energy.

What do you think is India's contribution to natural foods that help to heal?


As interest in healthy eating and fitness has grown around the globe, people have looked to Indian traditions in health and wellbeing such as Ayurveda and Unani. 


Part of the contribution relates to the healing attributes of plants that are well understood in India. The superfoods and nootropic ingredients which we use are all plant-based and include Ashwagandha.

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