The Indian diet is noted for its inclusion of many spices, pulses and rice, not forgetting its variety of flavors and colors. This is what make this cuisine so unique. Being generally low in fat, high in vegetables, fruit and lean meat, an Indian diet has many health benefits.
So, what makes an Indian diet so healthy? In answer to this, let’s take a look at the typical components of an Indian diet:
- High in a wide variety of vegetables and fruit
- High in a variety of spices and herbs
- Low in saturated fat
- Widely vegetarian
- High in fiber
There are specific components of an Indian diet which have a range of health benefits. Chickpeas, for example, which are often used in vegetarian curries and in salads, are a great source of fiber, zinc, folate and protein Spinach and tomatoes, which are widely used in Indian cuisine, are also known super foods, containing high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Likewise, many Indian sauces and accompaniments are vegetable based, such as Sag Aloo (Spinach & Potatoes) and Gobhi Aloo (Cauliflower & potatoes) making them a healthy choice as there is not need to use cream or cheese.
The minty yogurt dip or Raita, made from natural yogurt, cucumber and mint, is a source of calcium and is a low fat alternative to sauces such as mayonnaise. Natural yogurt is also often used to form curry sauces instead of cream or coconut milk.
Garlic features greatly in Indian cooking, which is said to be good for the heart, as do chillies, which are good for the immune system and metabolism.
Indian dishes often use vegetable, sesame and peanut oil rather than butter, which keeps them lower in saturated fat.
Finally, as Indian dishes have such an impacting taste often just a small portion can satisfy taste buds, helping you to consume fewer calories. An Indian diet’s variety and vibrancy keeps it interesting, which is a healthy component to any cuisine as variety can prevent boredom and overeating.
Health tips for eating an Indian diet
Like all cuisines from around the globe there will always be aspects that aren’t as healthy as we would like. So when enjoying Indian food be sure to stick to the healthier options such as tomato based curries, vegetable dishes and choose fish or chicken over lamb. Where possible,avoid using ghee (clarified butter) and instead choose to cook with Olive oil.
Finally, opting for tandoori dishes will save on consumption of fat and calories as they contain very little sauce and the food, often chicken and fish, is baked rather than fried.