Enjoy the Nutritional Benefits of Indian Cuisine With These Delicious Ideas

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My husband and I are adventurous foodies.  We have eaten alligator on a stick at a Texas fair and wild boar from our hunter friends.  In addition, we also love a wide assortment of ethnic cuisine.  Bold spices, exotic foods, and small local restaurants always get us excited to eat!  One cuisine we have been eating more of lately is Indian food. There are a ton of nutritional benefits of Indian cuisine that makes me feel good about eating it!

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Nutritional Benefits of Indian Cuisine

With our reduction in meat consumption comes a renewed exploration of vegetarian meals.  And while Indian food isn’t always vegetarian, they do offer quite a few vegetarian Indian recipes to try.  There are many nutritional benefits of Indian cuisine. I thought I would share some info if you want to explore these fabulous flavors yourself!

The Health Benefits Of An Indian Diet

What are the health benefits of an Indian diet?  Well, there are actually quite a few! Vegetables and spices make Indian food high in nutrition.  If you choose to start exploring Indian recipes, here are a few health benefits you can count on:

  • High in a wide variety of vegetables and fruit. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound in most Indian recipes. Some may seem very exotic to you.  If you can’t find them in your traditional grocery store, look for them in an Asian supermarket. They usually have a large, international produce section.
  • High in a variety of spices and herbs.  I will cover a lot of these Indian spices below in more detail.  Bold spices such as ginger and coriander all have loads of health benefits.
  • Low in saturated fat. One if the big nutritional benefits of Indian cuisine is how low it is in saturated fat.
  • Widely vegetarian. Vegetarian Indian food abounds!  Yes, they also have meat dishes.  But, this is one cuisine where you will have no trouble finding healthy vegetarian recipes. 
  • High in fiber. Due to the high produce content, Indian cuisine is high in fiber.  One of the health benefits of an Indian diet is some serious roughage! 

Many Americans get stuck on the same three or four types of vegetables.  As a result, they miss out on a lot of unique foods.  Don’t turn your nose up at leeks and bitter melon.  They may sound odd but be open minded about new food flavors. 

Nutritional Benefits of Indian Food

Healthy Indian Recipes to Try

Want to start exploring a few healthy Indian recipes? I put together a few that really caught my eye.  Personally, I love a good vegetarian Samosa or a spicy curry!  If you want to start making more Indian recipes, check out this great combo pack of Indian spices on Amazon.  Everything you need in one set! After that,  invest in a few Indian cookbooks for tons of healthy Indian recipes. 

  • Sattu parathas.  This is an Indian Pan fried flat bread.  Stuff it with something or serve it with soup or curry. 
  • Tadka dhal is one of the most popular recipe served in Indian restaurants. It is a flavorful lentil dish from Punjab.
  • Fenugreek and garlic infused spinach curry. This vegetarian curry recipe contains spinach, garlic and lots of wonderful aromatic spices. But, you can use just about any veggie combo in a good curry. 
  • Carrot, onion and spinach bhajis. This fritter is loaded with veggies and bold flavors. 

Indian Spices

Indian Spices and Nutritional Benefits of Indian Cuisine

Who doesn’t love a delicious, rich Indian meal? It’s filling, enjoys a worldwide appeal, and best of all – it is good for you! Indian food is internationally recognized as one of the most healthy food types available. Much of the nutritional boost comes from the health benefits of Indian spices.  Here are a few popular Indian spices and their health benefits.  

Get more information about the health benefits of India food by researching the Ayurvedic Diet.  Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda ) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine combines natural elements, spirituality and diet to improve health.  Check out my post on the Aurvedic diet for more info. 

Cumin

Cumin is a popular spice that is found in several Indian dishes, such as aloo gobi, aloo baingan, and jeera. It is also a main ingredient in curry powder. This special herb is full of antioxidants, which help the immune system to function at its best. Those suffering from digestive issues will also benefit from regular doses of cumin. Richness in iron is another benefit of cumin, which makes a great supplement for those with anemia or lack sufficient iron in general.
 
turmeric

Turmeric

Most noteworthy of the healthy spices is turmeric! Turmeric is another powerful all-around healer.  It is often used in the prevention and treatment of several health issues. Turmeric is known as a mild pain killer as well as anti-inflammatory. In addition, turmeric is also good for the liver. It acts as both a detoxifier as well as a protector. Arthritis and joint disease sufferers should eat eat dishes with turmeric to help relieve their symptoms. Read my post about the heath benefits of turmeric for more details about this great spice. 

Turmeric is found in vindaloo, chicken masala, and aloo phujia. Like cumin, turmeric is also an ingredient in curry powder. Try my turmeric mango smoothie recipe if you want to eat get more turmeric in your diet. You can also make up a batch of my natural flu shot recipe to boost immunity with fresh turmeric. 

Chana Masala

Chana masala is a delicious meal that is easy to make and found on menus worldwide. Chickpeas make up most of this Indian recipe. They are rich in protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, and potassium. Chana masala includes a unique seasoning blend of turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, and ginger.
Pumpkin curry

Vegetable Curry

With all the nutritional benefits of Indian cuisine, you need to add a few vegetable curries to your weekday menu. Though the ingredients and spices vary greatly with this universal dish, they all have one thing in common – vegetables! A healthy vegetable curry is an excellent way to get your daily dose of veggies. Popular vegetables include cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes.

ginger root

Ginger

Even more useful than turmeric in my house is ginger root. Ginger is a great natural treatment for morning sickness. It also soothes the gastrointestinal passageway, making it a natural remedy for heartburn. Some studies show that ginger may be helpful in the prevention of certain types of cancers. Vegetable bhaji, tomato masala, and masoor dal all contain ginger.

Delicious Ginger recipes 

Fenugreek

Finally, we have Fenugreek , another miracle spice. The fenugreek seed is a good source of fiber and iron. It is often used to increase libido in both men and women. Fenugreek  has similar properties as estrogen in the female body. In addition, during flu season, fenugreek is used to ease sore throats, fever, and coughing. This herb adds flavor to dishes such as methi dum aloo, sambar, and sai bhaji.

Close up image of Karai Dish with Spinach and fried Paneer

As you can see, there are loads of healthy spices in Indian food. However, while the nutritional benefits of Indian cuisine are huge, don’t just eat it for health.  Indian recipes are flavorful and delicious.  Your pallet may take time to adjust to the new flavors.  However, once you try a spicy vegetable curry, you will never go back to bland food again!   

Buy an Indian cookbook.  Head out to your nearest Indian restaurant.  Try new dishes at your next work party or neighborhood potluck.  In other words, just start exploring new foods!  Will you be trying a few new Indian foods this year?

 

Comments

  1. Jo's Health Corner says
    I try to include many of these spices in my cooking. Thanks for sharing.
  2. My husband and I have been thinking about introducing other kinds of food and spices into our diets that are good for our bodies. I liked how you explained that turmeric is known to be good as a mild pain killer and can even help the liver. It is definitely an aspect of Indian food that will make us want to try it out to see what it can do for us in the long run.

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