How Healthy Is Indian Food?
Indian food comes with its decadent flavors as well as “sinful” indulgences. It is good because it contains a lot of cereal grains which are high in fiber, and less animal protein. There are also a wide variety of legumes, lentils and vegetables included in Indian cuisine, attributing to its nutritional benefits. Yet, on the flip side, experts agree that since many of these dishes are prepared in ghee or clarified butter, they can contain a lot of saturated fat.
The staple of Indian diet revolve around natural foods like beans, pulses and lentils that are typically paired with rice and some sort of vegetable or meat curry. Now by themselves, these ingredients are health friendly and since many of them are prepared from scratch, it means eliminating any added preservatives or additives. Where Indian food may run into trouble is when foods are enriched with ghee or when processed flour starts to take over food items prepared with whole flour.
But there are ways to tweak the nutritional benefits of Indian food without compromising on any of the flavour.
- For instance, as in any other cuisine, salads are a great way to start off a meal. Given its fondness for vegetables, Indian food is always matched with a generous serving of salads. This a is a great way to incorporate nutrition into any meal and piling up on the veggies more will also mean that you will feel fuller faster without having to luxuriate in too many of the indulgences that often accompany the main meal, such as sweet and savory chutneys.
- When having chapatti or Indian bread, the bread is typically made from wheat flour which tastes great but adds the carbs up. A more nutritionally superior option would be to mix equal amounts of ground soya bean, black gram and bran to make chapatti flour to add fiber to the diet while reducing carb intake.
- Indian curries need no introduction, but eyebrows may be raised seeing the amount of cooking oil used in their preparation. Typically, curry recipes can call for a lot of oil which can be reduced fairly without altering the flavor of the dish itself.
- Another basic item of Indian cuisine is its extensive use of yogurt. Yogurt can be served plain with entrees, may be whipped into a raita or spiced whipped yogurt to accompany dishes or be used to serve as an accompaniment to rice. Yogurt offers healthy bacterial culture for the digestive tract as well as being a good source of calcium for the body.
- Lentils and pulses are big on an Indian menu and comprise the major part of a vegetarian cuisine. There are many different types of lentils that can be prepared, each providing its own protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content. Not to mention the distinct flavor that each type offers.
- While cooking in ghee may hit well with certain people, others may not be so crazy about preparing their meals in such highly saturated fat. The problem can easily be resolved by switching to a healthier oil option and it will not lessen or alter the flavor of the dish ain any way.
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