When you belong to a particular nationality, you tend to love every aspect of it. Be it the food , the language , the people. We Indians get very sentimental about our way of living . Especially the food. We love our food. but is Indian food healthy ? Lets find out .
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“Indian dishes are so oily, I don’t like Indian food”. “Oh my God, those buttery rotis and parathas and oily curries… my stomach simply cannot take them”. “I like Indian dishes a lot, but I am on a weight-loss diet and so I cannot have them”. “My family loves Indian cuisine, I like it too, but we do not get adequate time to cook Indian dishes… they take a lot of time to get cooked”. While we Indians have hundreds of reasons to make Indian food a perfect villain, all of us know in the very core of our heart that we are wrong. We all admire the greatness of the taste of the Indian cuisine, we admire the goodness of Indian spices, and we feel proud of our roots when it comes to talking good and hearing good about Indian foods to the rest of them .
Is Indian Food Healthy ?
If you are one of those who keep questioning, is Indian food healthy ? Or if you believe that Indian foods are unhealthy, a study conducted at the Indian Institute of Technology may serve as an eye-opener. In that study, as many as 2,500 traditional Indian dishes were examined and it was found that the ingredient combinations were mainly invented to provide the maximum medicinal benefits rather than for culinary purposes. This further explains why many Indian foods make you feel good at certain points of time- whether you are feeling low, suffering from stomach upset, or down with cold and fever.
The same research also found out that many spice combinations defy the culinary principle of food pairing that signifies the norm of pairing similar flavors. In fact, most Indian recipes are based on spices and ingredients that form negative food pairing. And perhaps, it is this negative food pairing which gives Indian dishes their unique taste while proving the age-old saying, “opposites attract”.
Is Indian food healthy, despite of its spiciness ? Yes, Indian foods are spicy. And we cannot deny this fact. And we do not want to deny this fact. Besides defining the characteristic taste of Indian foods, some of these spices serve as super foods as well.
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Some Indian spices produce warming effect that helps you beat cold weather conditions. Such spices and flavors are rich sources of gelatin, collagen, and minerals and if combined in the perfect proportions, they can really help you beat the chill.
Most Indian dishes are characterized by the fiery chili peppers that not only add an incredible taste to the food, but are also known to boost your mood and energy levels, making you feel great b y boosting endorphins.
If you need further reference to prove, is indian food healthy ?. Here are some commonly used Indian spices and their health benefits:
- Turmeric: Turmeric is specially noted for its anti-inflammatory properties. The active ingredient called curcumin acts as a natural metabolism booster, painkiller, and anti-septic. Additionally, turmeric is also noted for its anti-carcinogenic properties and for its role in preventing Alzheimer ’s disease. Turmeric is used in Chinese medicine to treat depression. Read – Benefits of turmeric
- Garlic: Garlic demonstrates strong anti-fungal, anti-viral, and immune-boosting properties. In addition garlic is known to lower the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and boost the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol which makes it an effective ingredient to fight the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Read – How to reduce triglycerides in the blood.
- Bay Leaves: Bay leaves contain high amounts of essential oils and a compound named Eucalyptol which is noted for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. Additionally, bay leaves are known for being an effective sleep-aid and for their ability to fight cough and colds.
- Green Chilies: Green chilies contain high amounts of anti-oxidants which fight free radicals that are produced due to oxidative stress. Besides being a strong immune booster and an anti-bacterial agent, green chilies are also known for being an effective anti-carcinogenic agent and anti-aging agent. They also help to stabilize the body’s blood sugar levels which, in turn, promote weight loss. They also boost the body’s endorphin levels which prevent depression. They contain high amounts of vitamin E and iron which promote healthy hair and skin. Read – how to increase Metabolism for weight loss
- Cardamom: Scientific research has proved that cardamom can effectively treat gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, colic, and diarrhea. Read – Benefits of cardamom
- Coriander: Noted for its anti-inflammatory properties and for its positive effects on digestion, coriander seeds are also known for being strong antioxidants. Read – Delicious sources of Antioxidants
- Ginger: Ginger supports the health of the digestive tract and provides relief against nausea. It is also a natural painkiller and an anti-inflammatory agent. Read – Benefits of ginger
Note: These are just a few of the Indian spices that I discussed about. If you want more information on other Indian spices, do write to me or respond to this blog.
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Indian recipes are based on the use of vegetables and fruits in their freshest form. Additionally, the dishes are cooked in such a way that the vegetables retain their freshness and nutrient-content. The uniqueness and elegance of Indian cooking methods make it possible for you to enjoy healthy foods in the tastiest form. Since Indian foods are prepared from the scratch, you can avoid the intake of preservatives that are known to cause cancer.
A Balanced Diet
Traditional Indian meals include a perfect combination of carbs, proteins, fats, and fibers which you body needs to carry out its daily functions. Besides, most Indian dishes include yoghurt as a vital item. Yoghurts contain healthy bacteria that promote the health of the digestive tract. Yoghurt has a high calcium content which preserves bone and teeth health while keeping you from gaining excess body fat. It can also prevent insulin resistance that may lead to diabetes and coronary heart disease.
How can a “villain” spoil the benefits of Indian diet?
Many people blame “Ghee” for adding a negative touch to Indian delicacies. I would like to clarify that pure desi ghee which is extracted from pure milk is one of the healthiest ingredients that can supply an optimum amount of protein and calcium. Unfortunately, most ghee available in the market are commercial ghee which means that they are composed of vegetable fat containing high amounts of trans-fat. Trans fat is harmful for cardiovascular health and this explains why we should cut down on the intake of adulterated vegetable fat. Secondly, most oils that we use today, are hydrogenated fat that are as harmful as commercial ghee. This again explains why we should avoid oily foods as much as we can.
Healthy cooking is the key to reap the benefits of healthy Indian foods in an optimal way. Avoid deep-fried foods and use oil is lesser quantity. Indian spices are powerful enough to generate the taste you like. Do write to me in case you need tips on cooking certain dishes in the healthiest way.
You may be interested in reading these Indian diet plans :-
So next time if your friend / family / colleague pops the question , ” Is Indian food healthy ?” you can give them some tips and a satisfactory answer.