You may have heard that Indian cuisine is bad for you. It’s full of fat that causes you to gain weight and struggle with heart problems. If that’s the case, why are there so many healthy Indians?
Indian food is some of the best for you, depending on how it’s cooked. There are many health benefits to the spices and herbs used to flavor dishes. In fact, many of the herbs and spices are used in Eastern health remedies because they are so good for you.
A good Indian diet is low in fat, high in fiber, and extremely good for proteins. Even if you don’t eat meat, the dishes will be packed with complete proteins due to the legumes you use. Sure, there are some creamy and fatty dishes, but in moderation, they can also be good for you. Here are the nine amazing benefits of Indian cuisine indulgence.
Packed with Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Minerals
There is no denying that your Indian cuisine is packed with multiple vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You’ll use several fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your cooking. They contain the likes of vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals like potassium and iron. The Indian diet is packed with some of the best support for the body.
With the antioxidants, your immune system gets a boost. You’re protected from more illnesses and your body doesn’t become inflamed as much. The cells are protected from damage and toxins in the body.
Meanwhile, the blood has plenty of red blood cells carrying the oxygen around, thanks to the boost in iron. The potassium helps to keep your electrolytes to prevent muscle cramps. It’s easier to build stronger bones thanks to the calcium within the meals.
You don’t need to even pack your dishes with meat to get the mineral benefits. You can get it all from pulses and dals. Vegetable curries are among the best for your health, especially when you use chickpeas and quinoa. The two are considered complete proteins. They have all the nine amino acids your body needs in one sitting.
And because of all the proteins, the meals are extremely filling. You keep the fat content down while enjoying the food you eat. It’s easier to lose weight and keep it off because you feel like you’re living instead of dieting.
The health antioxidants and nutrients will help to keep cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels to a minimum. There’s more support for the organs, so you suffer from fewer health problems in your life.
Packed with Healthy Rice
Rice gets a bad reputation for the wrong reason. Even white rice gets a bad reputation. It’s viewed as a carbohydrate that is just causing you to gain weight. This is one of the reasons why Indian cuisine is viewed as a bad thing. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
White rice is a staple in many Oriental and Middle Eastern cuisines. You don’t see a lot of people in these locations struggling with health problems associated with the Western diets. That’s because it’s not the rice that causes the problem, but the refined carbs in flours and cakes.
If you’re not that convinced, you can make a switch to brown rice. It’s easy to mask the slightly harder taste (usually because most people don’t cook it long enough) within the curried dishes. Brown or even wild rice are considered healthier alternatives to white rice because of the higher fiber count. The fiber will help to support your digestive system and keep your blood sugar levels down.
Either way, the rice is going to help support your health. They both help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. You end up eating less throughout the day, without the negative side effects of flours and other refined carbs. The digestive system is supported, and you feel healthier inside and out because of the Indian food.
Plenty of Healthy Oils for the Heart
There’s a common misconception that fat will make you fat. This was pushed by the sugar industries throughout the 80s, demonizing fats for all the wrong reasons. The truth is that some fat is healthy, and you want to add it to your diet.
Indian cuisine will help you get fat in the right way. Healthy oils can help support your brain and heart health. You get omega 3s to keep the brain cells in check, while the healthy oils will line the arteries with a smooth lining. The blood flows better, preventing high blood pressure and heart disease.
However, to make the most of this health benefit, you’ll have to think about the type of Indian dishes you eat. There are some that are packed with saturated fats and they can cause high bad cholesterol levels. Switch out the cream dishes and opt for more roasted, tomato-based dishes. When you do want something creamy, opt for yogurts or curd (more on this next).
Most Indian chefs will cook with non-stick pans and roast their vegetables. This helps to cut down on the frying but also keeps the vegetable oils out of the way. The fats come from the cuts of meat, the nuts, and other similar ingredients. Use the lean cuts of meat or opt for more vegetable dishes to cut your intake of saturated fats down further.
More Good Bacteria in the Gut
Remember the comment about curd? Well, this is another amazing benefit of Indian cuisine. The curd is one of the best ways to get good bacteria in the gut. Another option is yogurt.
The gut needs some bacteria. When it doesn’t get enough good bacteria, it will grow the bad bacteria. This leads to more yeast infections, underactive digestive systems, and chronic health problems. It makes it harder for the body to absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat, so you’re more likely to suffer from deficiencies, even if you have an averagely healthy diet.
The curd is an excellent way to replace the cream with a creamy texture to kormas, butter chicken, and other similar dishes. Of course, it is possible to eat too much, and you will need to get a good balance. It’s best to make your own homemade curd for best results.
If you can’t get curd, yogurt will offer similar good bacteria benefits. You will need to get natural Greek or plain yogurts. Those that are flavored won’t just affect the taste of your dishes but will also add more unnecessary sugars.
Improve Your Digestive Health
It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear that Indian cuisine is great for your digestive health. We’ve already looked at the rice and how it contains more fiber than expected, helping to support the digestive system. But that’s not the only way Indian food is so good.
The lower fat content is positive for your digestive health. Fats are cloggy, even the unsaturated fats. They take time to break down in the digestive system and can cause some discomfort and upset. Indian cuisine is low in fats, making the food extremely easy to digest.
You also get plenty of fiber from the vegetables and fruits. They help to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs for good health. The digestive system is lined with a protective layer, while the food slides through.
The spices and herbs can also help to boost your digestive process, aiding with weight loss. In fact, the spices are worth looking at on their own.
A Boost to the Metabolic Rate
When you think of Indian food, you likely initially consider the spices. After all, most Indian chefs will ask you how spicy you want your food and certain dishes are known to be the hottest. Spice is great for speeding up the metabolism.
The spice will increase the body’s internal temperature. To help reduce the temperature, the metabolism kicks up to get rid of the reason for it. This will help you burn through more calories in a short space of time, and the kick to the metabolism will continue long after you’ve eaten the food.
Meanwhile the heart rate increases. Your body thinks that you’re exercising, even though you’re sitting with a meal. This will help to further boost your metabolic rate.
Don’t worry about being left hungry. The body still needs to burn the protein and fiber you’ve fed it. What your metabolism ends up doing is burning the fat you’ve stored. It’s much easier to lose weight when you eat more spices. Plus, the spices will boost your immunity against diseases. Even if you didn’t need to lose weight, you’ll want to improve your immunity.
Lack of Sluggishness After a Meal
When you eat your normal home cooked meals, you likely feel sluggish and full. Your digestive system has a lot of work to do, especially if you eat a lot of wheat and grains. Your body isn’t used to dealing with the thickness of the wheat.
You may initially think that Indian food shouldn’t be good for you, right? After all, chapattis and roti bread are common staples of Indian cuisine. If bread makes you sluggish, how can these breads be good for you? Well, they’re made from Atta flour or durum. Both are much finer than Western flours, so they don’t cause the same sluggishness.
They also don’t cause the same spike in your blood sugar levels. The flours break down slowly in the digestive system, absorbing when you need the energy and leaving you to feel satisfied but energetic. You don’t need the same amount of insulin to deal with Indian wheat as you do with Western flour and wheat. You have a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes and other health conditions.
Nutritional Values Are Preserved
A major issue with cooking vegetables is that the nutritional values can be damaged. This happens through the cooking process, whether you fry, bake, roast, or even boil and steam! An amazing thing about Indian cooking is that the nutritional values are all preserved because of different cooking methods.
Many of the Indian dishes use slow cooking methods. They help to bring out more moisture and flavor. The dishes can seep in the marinades, making them much tastier and spicier than other dishes.
Every bite you eat will be packed with the nutrients that you expect. You won’t be left wondering why you’re suffering from deficiencies despite a healthy diet.
You will also get more spices with Indian dishes. Most western dishes will add garlic, but not the ginger, turmeric, and cardamom pods. These are all included in many Indian dishes, offering the boosts to the metabolisms, the healing properties, and anti-inflammatory properties. Your whole body will benefit from every bite you take.
Only Fresh Ingredients Are Encouraged
When you eat at an Indian restaurant, you will find that all dishes taste a lot better than the quick ready meals you can pick up at the grocery store. This is because of the type of vegetables that are used. An Indian chef will always use fresh ingredients. They skip the preservatives and processed food, using freshly chopped vegetables and herbs and deliciously fresh meat.
All dishes are prepared by hand. They’re packed with flavor with many items freshly bought that day.
If you want to make the most of your Indian cuisine and benefit from this fact, you’ll need to get fresh ingredients as much as possible. Avoid the frozen vegetables and dried herbs. Grow your own herbs and spices at home and always use fresh where you can. You gain far more nutrients with each bite and the dishes will taste a lot better.
Indian cuisine is healthier than you would have initially considered. While there are some creamy dishes, there are ways to make them healthier. Your dishes are packed with antioxidants and proteins. You’ll get plenty of fiber and good bacteria. Your digestive system benefits, which means the rest of your body does too!