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Stephanie D. Murillo
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Indian Food – How Healthy Is It For You?

Probably you know that Indians love eating a lot. Every state of India has its variety and taste of foods. India is a multi-ethnic and a multi-cultural country. Its cultural and ethnic diversity also has an impact on its cuisine. Cultural interface with other societies, trade relations, foreign incursion and colonialism has introduced different foods to the Indian society. Indian food is rapidly gaining popularity among the European countries. Indian cuisine has a unique flavor, aroma and health benefits. The spices used in Indian foods make the dishes delicious as well as healthy. Indian food is famous for the addition of a lot of spices, rice, and lentils. Most of the Indian dishes contain fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat. They are not only low in fat, but also high in health benefits. In my last post, I’ve discussed Thai food, here I’m going to discuss the health benefits of Indian food.

Core Ingredients of Indian Food and Their Health Benefits

Indian food
Image credit by eatthali

Indian cuisine is rich in flavors and has a liberal use of legumes, rice, yogurt, paneer, fresh vegetables and grains. Likewise, diversity in Indian dishes, ingredients used in foods also have a wide range. The core ingredients of Indian staple food are millet, wheat flour, rice and pulses such as urad, measure, mong, channa, rajma, and lobiya. Fresh vegetables, fruits and spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, and green chilies are widely used in Indian food.

Many dishes are cooked in vegetable oil, but peanut oil, coconut and butter oil is also used in some regions of India. Vanaspati and Desi ghee is also used frequently in many dishes. The frequently used spices are chili powder, black mustard, cardamom, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, asafetida commonly known as hing. Meat is also a common part of Indian foods. Chicken and mutton are mostly used but fish and beef are also used in some parts of India.

Here is a description of some healthy ingredients used abundantly in Indian food.

  • Turmeric

Turmeric is an important spice that has magical impacts on health. It is commonly used in Asian dishes and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s unique flavor, aroma and color gives a unique touch to the dish. Scientific research has proved that some health benefits are associated with this spice.It contains a component curcumin that prevents the heart from enlarging. The use of turmeric improves the blood circulation and controls the blood pressure. Additionally, it also reduces the cholesterol level and prevents blood clotting. It is a natural antiseptic and also used in many herbal medicines for its healing effects. It is also known for enhancing the skin glow.

READ:  25 Vegetarian Foods That Are High In Protein And Low In Carbs
turmeric
Image credit by kvrimpex
  • Garlic

Garlic is almost used in every dish of Indian cuisine. Garlic has a lot of nutritious values as it contains asulfur compound known as Allicin, Vitamin B, and C. It has an amount of manganese, selenium, and fibers that help to improve the immune system, reduces blood pressure, improves cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Image credit by thebhojpuri
Image credit by thebhojpuri
  • Ginger

Ginger is a power pack of nutrients and bioactive compounds. It provides some health benefits to its users. It helps to reduce muscle pain and menstrual pain as well. The use of a little amount of ginger prevents from various types of nausea. It lowers the blood sugar, improves the heart health and reduces the weight. The ginger has anti-cancer properties that may help to prevent cancer. It can be used fresh, dried or in powdered form.

Image credit by pingkainapong
Image credit by pingkainapong
  • Green chili

Green chili is a basic ingredient of spicy Indian foods. It makes the flavor of food incredibly delicious and spicy. Green chilies are packed full of antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-aging properties. They contain Vitamin E and iron. The consumption of the green chilies boosts the immune system and balances the blood sugar level. Its daily use in food protects against different types of cancer.

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  • Lentils

Lentils are a healthy part of Indian diet. They are easy to cook and delicious to eat. Lentils are low in calories and high in nutritional values. The people who love to eat diet food and want to lose their weight without compromising on appetite should eat lentils. Besides this, lentils are rich in fibers that control the blood cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart diseases. Lentils are a great source of manganese and folate. Manganese and folate help to improve the heart health and improve the blood flow and oxygen throughout the body. Lentils improve the digestive system and help to prevent constipation. Lentils contain a high amount of protein, iron, and carbohydrates that boost up your energy level instantly.

lentils

  • Rice

Rice is a cereal crop and an important part of most of the cuisines around the world. It is consumed in Indian food abundantly. It has a lot of varieties and used differently depending on cooking needs and taste. The health benefits of rice include; instant energy boost, improves the bowel movement, balancing sugar level, improving metabolism, skin nourishment, reduction of high blood pressure and a good digestive system. Rice is a cholesterol free food which prevents you from being overweight. Whole grain rice, especially brown rice has such fibers that prevent many types of cancer. The diabetic patients should add brown rice to their diet rather than white rice.

READ:  20 Foods That Prevent Heart Disease
Image credit by indianagroexporter
Image credit by indianagroexporter
  • Vegetables

Most dishes of Indian cuisine depend on fresh vegetables. Some vegetables are used in raw form, whereas some are used after a proper cooking to reap their benefits. As we know that vegetables are a big source of nutrients such as vitamins, iron, protein, fibers and carbohydrates. These nutrients mean a lot to the health improvement.

Image credit by Zustt fresh
Image credit by Zustt fresh
  • Desi ghee

Desi ghee belongs to the class of clarified butter. It is prepared at homes by boiling the butter. It can be stored in the fridge and at the room temperature also. The use of desi ghee is very beneficial for the health. It contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 fatty acids, minerals, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D and vitamin K which help to improve metabolism and digestive system, balances the insulin level, boosts the immune system and prevents infections.

Image credit by scoopwhoop
Image credit by scoopwhoop
  • Meat

Meat is a basic part of the Indian cuisine and a big source of energy. Meat is a complete diet in itself. Meat contains high protein that is beneficial for the overall health of the body. Protein helps to repair the tissues and cells of the body. It improves the immune system and prevents the infections. Meat contains a high amount of iron, zinc and selenium that helps to improve the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, formation of tissue, improves metabolism. Vitamin A, B, and D are found abundantly in meat which not only improve the vision, strengthen the teeth and bone but also supports the central nervous system. A balanced quantity of meat provides a lot of health benefits.

Image credit by pameparo
Image credit by pameparo

Why should you choose Indian Food?

The purpose of food is not only to fill the tummy but also to provide energy and improve the health level. A well balanced diet must contain all nutrients that a body needs to work well. Indian staple foods are rich in protein, fiber and all other nutrients that your body needs to stay active and healthy. Indian food possesses the following qualities;

  • Fresh ingredients used in dishes make the Indian cuisine, fresh and healthy.
  • A variety of spices and herbs used in Indian food give its foods a unique flavor, aroma and color that you can’t resist placing an order.
  • Most of the ingredients contain less fattening agents that maximize your energy level, keeping you healthy and fit. Indian food is rich in fiber contained ingredients that maintain your health.
  • Indian cuisine has a large variety of flavors and dishes. In fact, it provides you so many choices that you may confuse what to choose or what not to choose.
READ:  What Breakfast Foods Contain Iron?

Some delicious Indian dishes that you must try

  1. Indian curries

The spicy, oily and creamy curries of Indian cuisine are famous all over the world.It is a South Indian dish which has a lot of variety depending on ingredients and cooking methods. Every region has its taste and recipe of curries. It may contain meat, chicken or fish or only a combination of vegetables.

Image credit by flexiclub
Image credit by flexiclub
  1. Idly

Idly is a South Indian dish that is made from fermented rice and pulses by steaming process. It is healthy diet as it is low in fats and easy to digest. You can take it at breakfast with any side dish.

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  1. Dhokla

Dhokla is a famous dish of Gujarat and western Indian parts. It is also a steamed dish which is prepared without the use of any oil. It is made from fermented pulses. Dhokla is also found in different varieties. It is highly good for the diabetic patients.You can use it as a side dish at your lunch or dinner according to your choice.

Image credit by reshareit
Image credit by reshareit
  1. Biryani

Biryani is a famous dish of Indian cuisine mainly cooked with rice, different spices, and meat. It also has a large variety of recipes. Its aroma and delicious taste enhance the appetite. You may love to have it at lunch or dinner with salad and raita.

Image credit by channel6
Image credit by channel6
  1. Cholebhature

Cholebhature is a high calorie contained traditional Indian dish. It is fried, flour bread with the serving of a spicy chickpea curry. It is a heavy diet mainly used at lunch. It has a delicious taste that has a mouth-watering aroma. You must try it at least once.

Image credit by pinterest
Image credit by pinterest

Other Indian famous dishes include; pani Puri, jalebi, tandoori chicken, bhengan bharta, dhosa, bhelpuri, vada, rscheado masala fish and papri chat.

Every cuisine of the world has some health benefits along with some health risks. Excessive consumption of any food can put your health at risk. Balance is always required to maintain the health level.

 

Stephaine D. Murillo is a Dubai-based American professional nutritionist who tells the secrets of a healthy and longer life. She is ambitious to find the significant benefits of a nutritional and balanced diet. She guides food lovers about the health benefits and drawbacks of vegetables, fruits and other types of food. She loves to share information about food & health through Papaorder Blog. So, subscribe Papaorder blog to get her health & food tips.

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