Most Indians believe that Indian food is among the healthiest cuisines in the world. No doubt, that it can be healthy, but is all Indian food healthy? To see what is healthy in Indian cuisine, and what is not, read on..
- Indian food by its nature incorporates a lot of vegetables as ingredients for cooking. This is great, since vegetables are a rich source of nutrition.
- Talking about cooking, Indian food uses a large amount of spices. And spices are just loaded with healthy goodness, like antioxidants. For example, turmeric has so many health benefits, that its almost considered a wonder drug.
- Dairy products are commonly used in Indian food- be it yoghurt, milk, etc. Besides being a rich calcium source, foods like yoghurt promote probiotic bacteria in the gut, which helps manage and improve digestion, overall health, and immunity levels.
- Even though we use a lot of vegetables, and spices, very often, Indian food tends to cook veggies so much, that it leeches most of the nutritional content during the cooking process. Just heating itself can reduce some vitamins from food, along with water content. So, cooking them & processing them for a long time further reduces nutritional value
- Besides cooking a lot, Indian cooking, specially cooking for celebratory functions incorporates a lot of fried food, or just food cooked in a lot of oil. Cooking in a lot of oil, besides significantly increasing the calorie value of food, it also increases the bad cholesterol content, and is bad for heart health. Did you know, that Indians have higher risk heart diseases, than Americans or Europeans.
- Besides the oil and the overcooking, Indian food has culturally become very focused on the consumption of grains, wheat, rice, etc. We mean, that the total intake of food is measured by the amount of roti, paratha, or rice consumed, rather than the vegetables, lentils, etc. Most of the nutrition comes from other sources than grains, so why not focus on those.
- The use of refined flour (maida) is becoming more common. Refined flour has a high glycemic index, and its consumption in any form (like white bread, samosas, etc), increases the glycemic load in your body, making your body store fat, and putting you at risk of diabetes. Indians are naturally more prone to diabetes than others.
- Similar to the use of refined flour, sugar usage & consumption has significantly increased. This is more of a global trend, but because of our genetic tendency towards diabetes & that India is projected to be the diabetes capital by 2050, we really should be watching out.
Use whole grain flour to increase nutritive value.
Note, that these are general trends, and not all of these may apply in your case, so in case they do, please take action and let’s eat & promote healthy Indian food.
If you have any points on how to make Indian food healthier, do share with us, in the comments.