The Hidden Health Benefits of Indian Food
I am taking it back to my roots by uncovering some of the incredible health benefits of one of my favorite cuisines - Indian!
Indian cuisine is renowned for its rich and diverse flavors, but did you know that it also offers a plethora of hidden health benefits? Indian food is more than just a feast for the senses; it is also a treasure chest of natural ingredients that can promote well-being and contribute to a healthy lifestyle! From antioxidant-rich spices to fiber-packed lentils, Indian cuisine is full of ingredients that can positively impact your health.
Here are some of the lesser-known health benefits of Indian food that make it not only delicious, but also a wise choice for those seeking a wholesome diet:
1. Lentils - A Protein Powerhouse
Lentils, commonly known as "dal" in India, are a staple in Indian cuisine and offer a wide range of health benefits. Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. They are also high in dietary fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestive health, and promote a feeling of fullness, making them an ideal food for gut health and hormonal balance. Lentils come in various colors and types, such as red lentils, green lentils, and black lentils, and can be used in a variety of Indian dishes, such as soups, stews, and curries. Personally, nothing will beat my mother's homemade yellow dal!
2. Spices - Flavorful and Medicinal
Indian cuisine is renowned for its aromatic and flavorful spices, which not only enhance the taste of the food but also offer numerous health benefits. Spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, and cloves are commonly used in Indian cooking and are known for their medicinal properties. For example, cumin has been shown to aid digestion, coriander is known for its antioxidant properties, cardamom has been used traditionally to soothe digestive issues.
By now, I think everyone is aware of my love for turmeric (the golden spice), but did you know that it is present in almost every Indian dish? Its vibrant yellow color comes from a compound called curcumin, which is known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. that fight inflammation, boost brain health, and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The generous use of these spices in Indian cooking not only adds depth and complexity to the flavors but also contributes to the overall healthfulness of the cuisine.
3. Ghee - Clarified Butter
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is a staple in Indian cuisine and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its potential health benefits. While ghee is often associated with its rich and delicious flavor, it is also believed to offer several health-promoting properties that make it a healthy choice when consumed in moderation. Ghee is a source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated fats and saturated fats. These fats are important for various bodily functions, including hormone production, brain health, and energy production. In addition, it is a good source of essential fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K. These vitamins play vital roles in various physiological processes, such as immune function, bone health, and vision. Ghee also contains beneficial compounds like butyric acid, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and support gut health.
I actually prefer to ghee to regular butter because of its rich and nutty flavor!
4. Whole Grains - A Wholesome Choice
Whole grains are considered healthy due to their numerous nutritional benefits and their role in promoting overall health and well-being. Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining digestive health. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, prevent constipation, and promote a healthy gut microbiome. In Indian cusine, whole grains are traditionally used in rotis (whole wheat flatbread) rice, and dishes with semolina. Whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains is linked to improved heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Overall, Indian cuisine is probably the healthiest one out there! From its protein packed lentils to medicinal spices, Indian food is a reliable source of health and tastiness. I encourage you all to try the flavors of gold!