What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘Indian food’? Hot, spicy, oily, fatty, not a good option for your health? Or perhaps that it’s exotic, delicious, and vibrant, hence an absolute favorite. Well, you are both right and wrong. But, how healthy is Indian Food? No doubt, Indian food contains a lot of spices but it is a misconception that they are unhealthy.
Besides adding countless flavors and colors to Indian food, these authentic spices also embody a number of medicinal and healing properties.
The term ‘Indian Food’ cannot be categorized as one single cuisine as it includes a wide range of food habits and regional fares. The staple Indian diet usually comprises rice/chapatti, dal, a choice of vegetables, beans/legumes, pickle, and chutney along with chicken or fish according to one’s preference.
Usually characterized as being widely vegetarian, low in fat, and high in wholesome spices, the Indian diet is believed to promote several health benefits. However, this arrangement might vary from region to region.
South Indian Food
For instance, in the southern India, one can mark an extensive use of tamarind, curry leaves, and black mustard seeds. Tamarind is known for thinning the blood. Curry leaves are packed with antioxidant properties that can save you from gastrointestinal problems while also normalizing your cholesterol level. On the other hand, black mustard seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, essential for cardiovascular health. They also contain high levels of minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium which are vital for our health.
Another notable feature is that most South Indian dishes are cooked in coconut oil which stimulates health. Coconut oil is rich in natural saturated fats that help in increasing the good HDL cholesterol while transforming the bad LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form. This, in turn, contributes to lowering the risk of heart diseases.
North East Indian Food
Moving a little up to the North-Eastern region, one comes across an eclectic mix of delicacies which are prepared with indigenous herbs and minimal spice. The best part is a lot of these dishes are steamed, smoked, and fermented. This greatly adds to the health factor. The fermentation technique, in particular, accentuates the flavor, longevity, and nutritional benefits of the food.
The North-Easterners generally specialize in the use of less oil or masala. That doesn’t blunt the flavors of their food which are instead retained by the infusion of local herbs and plants. These herbs are known be of strong medicinal value that can not only boost your metabolism but also fight against many serious illnesses.
Into the bargain, the North-Eastern fare is high on leafy greens—be it fermented or sauteed. More importantly, the food is customarily made from fresh ingredients using a simple procedure. A few popular North-Eastern delicacies that are palate-cleansers include Jadoh with Dokhleh (rice cooked in meat stock), Singju or Chamthong (vegetables with dried fish), Masortenga (tomato-based sour fish curry), and Gundruk ko jhol (broth made from fermented mustard greens) among rest. It is needless to say, these dishes are extremely healthy yet a bliss to your taste buds.
North Indian Food
The encounter with vibrant flavors in the northern and western parts of India will amaze you. A major part of their cuisine is composed of organic, seasonal vegetables which use a high amount of vitamins and minerals. Also, to enhance the texture of their dishes, North-Indian cuisine uses curd as a key ingredient. From a health-oriented perspective, curd is a great pro-biotic known to soothe an upset stomach by regulating digestion. It is also effective in clearing ulcers and keeping the body temperature steady.
As a matter of fact, most Indians traditionally have curd as an after-meal course for better digestion.
As deduced from the aforementioned overview, Indian food offers a plethora of health benefits while at the same time introducing you to sensational and decadent flavors. Remarkably enough, Indian cooking does not tend to cause vegetables or meat to lose their nutritional properties. Instead, it allows you to enjoy the food in a beneficial yet gratifying manner.
Traditional Indian meals contain protein, carbohydrates, and necessary fats, all of which are prerequisites to maintain a balanced, healthy diet. What’s more, there is hardly any use of preservatives or artificial sweeteners in Indian food. These artificial sweeteners often induce toxic reactions on your body leading to various health disorders.
Similarly, all Indian cuisines are, more or less, devoid of processed foods which are yet again a common instigator of health hazards like obesity, heart problems, liver issues, and bowel disorders to name a few. Indian food rightly qualifies as a healthy diet option if you are on a fitness spree.