Staple Foods Of India: A Guide Beyond Nutrition

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In the diverse culinary landscape of India, staple foods hold a significant place. These foods form the foundation of Indian cuisine and are an integral part of the daily diet of millions of people across the country. Indian staple foods are not only delicious and satisfying but also offer a plethora of nutritional benefits. They provide essential macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre, contributing to a well-rounded and balanced diet.

From rice and wheat to lentils and legumes, from a vibrant array of vegetables to seasonal fruits; and from dairy products to aromatic spices and herbs, Indian cuisine encompasses a wide range of nutritious ingredients. Each staple food has its unique nutritional profile and benefits, making them a crucial part of the Indian diet.

This article explores the world of Indian staple foods and their role in promoting good health and nutrition. We will delve into the nutritional value, health benefits, and tips for incorporating these foods into your diet. By understanding the significance of Indian staples, you can make informed choices to optimize your well-being. By familiarizing ourselves with the nutritional aspects of Indian staple foods, we can appreciate their contribution to a healthy lifestyle.

I. Rice 

Rice has been an integral part of Indian cuisine for centuries. This versatile grain not only forms the cornerstone of numerous regional dishes but also holds immense cultural and traditional significance across the country. From aromatic biryanis to comforting rice-based dishes like pulao and khichdi, rice is a staple that brings people together and satisfies appetites.

Rice comes in different varieties and is usually categorised based on size and colour. Out of the various varieties such as brown rice, red rice, black rice, basmati rice etc, short-grain white rice is the most consumed variety in the subcontinent. 

Read More: White Rice – A Health & Nutrition Guide

The USDA provides the nutrition information for 100 g of raw enriched, short-grain white rice:

NutrientQuantityCalories365 KcalProtein7.13 gramsTotal Lipid0.66 gCarbohydrates80 gramsTotal fibre1.3 gramsTotal sugar0.12 gPotassium115 mg

Rice is not just a source of sustenance; it is also packed with essential nutrients that contribute to a well-balanced diet. It serves as an excellent source of carbohydrates, providing the body with the energy it needs for various daily activities. Rice, when consumed in appropriate portions as part of a balanced diet, can contribute to weight management. It provides satiety and keeps you feeling full for longer periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating. For better weight reduction results, look for rice variants that are darker and richer in colour. Research suggests that eating brown rice in particular improves bowel movement, leading to an excellent intestinal environment and aiding weight loss. 

Furthermore, the darker the colour of the rice, the more antioxidants it contains. Red rice has an intense quantity of anthocyanins that imparts a red/maroon colour to its bran. This antioxidant also helps lower cholesterol levels as per a study. Black rice being rich in antioxidants is also a source of micronutrients like zinc, phosphorus, folate, and niacin. 

Read more about the different types of rice in this article. 

Summary

Rice, a beloved staple food in India, has a rich cultural heritage and is consumed in various forms across the country. It provides essential nutrients, including carbohydrates for energy, dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Different types of rice, such as brown, red, and black rice, offer additional health benefits. Brown rice improves bowel movements and aids in weight loss, while red rice contains anthocyanins that help lower cholesterol. Black rice is rich in antioxidants and provides micronutrients. Incorporating these varieties into a balanced diet can enhance overall health and well-being.

II. Wheat 

Wheat is a major staple in Indian cuisine and plays a fundamental role in the daily diet of millions of people across the country. It has been a traditional grain for centuries and continues to be a key ingredient in various regional dishes. Wheat is primarily consumed in the form of chapatis, rotis (unleavened flatbreads), parathas, and as an essential component of many bread-based dishes.

Health Benefits of Consuming Wheat

1.Nutrient-Dense: Wheat is a nutrient-dense grain, providing essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins (including folate), iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients play vital roles in various bodily functions, including metabolism, red blood cell production, and immune system support.

2. Fibre-Rich: Whole wheat is an excellent source of dietary fibre. As per reports, fibre promotes healthy digestion, aids in maintaining regular bowel movements, and can contribute to a feeling of fullness, which may assist in weight management. It also supports heart health by helping to lower cholesterol levels.

3. Energy Boost: Wheat is primarily a carbohydrate-rich grain, providing a steady and sustained release of energy. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals seeking an energy boost for physical and mental activities throughout the day.

4. Blood Sugar Regulation: The complex carbohydrates found in wheat are digested more slowly compared to simple carbohydrates. This slower digestion process helps regulate blood sugar levels and can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to prevent diabetes.

5. Heart Health: Whole wheat contains dietary fibre, antioxidants, and healthy fats, all of which contribute to heart health. Research links regular consumption of whole grains such as wheat to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.

6. Weight Management: Incorporating wheat into a balanced diet can support weight management efforts. As per studies, wheat being rich in fibre can promote satiety, reducing the likelihood of overeating and aiding in weight control.

Summary

Wheat, a staple in Indian cuisine, offers numerous health benefits. It is nutrient-dense, providing essential vitamins and minerals. The high fibre content supports digestion, regulates blood sugar levels, and aids in weight management. Wheat also promotes heart health due to its fibre, antioxidants, and healthy fats. It is a steady source of energy and plays a role in supporting overall bodily functions. Incorporating wheat into a balanced diet can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and overall well-being.

III. Lentils and Legumes

Indian cuisine is renowned for its extensive use of lentils and legumes, which are not only delicious but also packed with nutritional benefits. Here are some common types of lentils and legumes widely used in Indian cooking:

Masoor Dal (Red Lentils): Masoor dal is a popular lentil variety known for its quick cooking time and earthy flavour. It is rich in protein, fibre, folate, and iron, making it a nutritious choice.

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas): Toor dal is a staple in many Indian households. It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. Toor dal is an excellent source of protein, dietary fibre, potassium, and B vitamins.

Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram): Chana dal is made from split chickpeas and has a rich, nutty flavour. It is a versatile lentil used in various Indian dishes, including curries and snacks. Chana dal is high in fibre, protein, iron, and manganese.

Moong Dal (Split Yellow Mung Beans): Moong dal is a light and easy-to-digest lentil. It has a mild flavour and is commonly used in soups, stews, and sprouts. Moong dal is low in fat, rich in fibre, and a good source of plant-based protein.
Read More: Health Benefits, Nutrition and Recipes 

Rajma (Kidney Beans): Rajma is a popular legume in North Indian cuisine, often used to prepare the famous Rajma curry. It is high in protein, fibre, iron, and folate. Rajma provides a satisfying and nutritious addition to meals.
Read: Benefits of Kidney Beans, Nutritional Facts, Recipes, Side Effects and More

Health Benefits of Consuming Lentils and Legumes

Including lentils and legumes in your diet offers numerous health benefits. Here are some key advantages:

1.Excellent Source of Plant-Based Protein: Lentils and legumes are rich in plant-based proteins, making them an important protein source for vegetarians and vegans. They provide essential amino acids needed for muscle repair, growth, and overall body function.

2. High in Fiber: Lentils and legumes are excellent sources of dietary fibre, which aids digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and helps maintain a healthy gut. Adequate fibre intake is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

3. Nutrient-Dense: Lentils and legumes are packed with essential nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate. These nutrients support various bodily functions, such as energy production, cell growth, and the formation of red blood cells.

4. Heart-Healthy: Lentils and legumes have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. They are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, while high in fibre and antioxidants. Consuming lentils and legumes as part of a balanced diet can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

5. Weight Management: Lentils and legumes are nutrient-dense, satisfying, and low in calories. The combination of protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates helps keep you feeling full, reducing the likelihood of overeating and aiding in weight management.

6. Blood Sugar Control: Lentils and legumes have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage blood sugar levels.

Summary

Indian cuisine incorporates a wide variety of lentils and legumes, known for their delicious flavours and nutritional benefits. Common types include masoor dal, toor dal, chana dal, moong dal, and rajma. Lentils and legumes are rich in plant-based protein, fibre, and essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and potassium. They support digestion, heart health, weight management, and blood sugar control. To include them in your meals, start with familiar dishes, explore traditional recipes, and experiment with different flavours and textures. Lentils and legumes are versatile ingredients that can add both taste and nutrition to your Indian cooking.

IV. Vegetables

Indian cuisine boasts a wide array of vegetables that are not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits. Here are some popular Indian vegetables and their respective health benefits: 

1.Potatoes (Aloo): Potatoes are versatile and widely used in various Indian dishes. They are a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and vitamin C. They provide energy, aid digestion, and support the immune system. According to a study, potatoes are a rich source of potassium; and can help in balancing the sodium content inside the body, reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Furthermore, a study shows that consuming potatoes decreases white blood cells such as leukocytes and lymphocytes in the blood. However, it’s important to note that the health benefits of potatoes can be maximized when they are cooked in a healthy manner, such as boiling or baking, rather than deep-frying.

Read More: Potatoes: Health Benefits, Nutritional Value And Recipes

2. Onions (Pyaz): Onions are an integral part of Indian cooking, adding flavour and aroma to dishes. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and B6, and dietary fibre. Onions have anti-inflammatory properties, support heart health, and may help regulate blood sugar levels. They are also known for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Read More: Onion: Top 8 Benefits; Nutritional Facts, And Healthy Recipes

3. Spinach (Palak): Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. It promotes bone health, boost immunity, and supports healthy vision. A study suggests that the potential use of unconcentrated dietary nitrate found in vegetables like spinach can effectively aid the maintenance of cardiovascular health. Dietary nitrates decrease arterial stiffness and central BP. In healthy individuals, it may be a more accurate prognostic indicator of cardiovascular health than brachial BP. In addition, research shows that vitamin K-rich leafy greens like spinach help reduce inflammation. 

Read More: Spinach Benefits and Recipes: Why and what you need to be eating!

4. Okra (Bhindi): Okra is low in calories and high in dietary fibre, which aids digestion and helps maintain blood sugar levels. It is also a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium. Studies say that by reducing oxidative stress, lady fingers may help prevent chronic inflammation and its associated health risks.

5. Eggplant (Baingan): Eggplants are low in calories and high in fibre. They contain antioxidants that may protect against cell damage and promote brain health.

6. Cauliflower (Phool Gobi): Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable rich in vitamins C, K, and B6. Research indicates that a diet high in fibre-rich vegetables such as cauliflower may help decrease the risk of various diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Cauliflower includes sulforaphane, an antioxidant. Several studies on this antioxidant prove its numerous benefits. For example, studies demonstrate that sulforaphane effectively decreases cancer formation by blocking enzymes involved in cancer and tumour growth. 

Read More: Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

7. Cabbage (Patta Gobi): Cabbage is rich in vitamins C and K, as well as fibre. It contains antioxidants that may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It also protects one against oxidative stress which plays a vital role in developing heart diseases. According to a study, eating a cabbage-rich diet reduces your chance of getting type 2 diabetes due to its high antioxidant and high fibre content.

8. Tomatoes (Tamatar): Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease. They are also rich in vitamins A and C.

Read More: The Phenomenal Health Benefits Of Tomatoes

9. Bottle Gourd (Lauki/Doodhi): Bottle gourd is a hydrating and nutritious vegetable with numerous health benefits. Its high water content helps maintain hydration while being low in calories makes it suitable for weight management. It is rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, promoting digestion and overall health. Bottle gourd’s antioxidant properties support immunity, while its compounds aid liver health and its potassium content help regulate blood pressure.

10. Ridge Gourd (Torai/Turai): Ridge gourd is a low-calorie vegetable that is rich in dietary fibre, vitamins C and K, and minerals like calcium and iron. It is known for its cooling properties and is often used in traditional remedies for managing blood pressure and promoting healthy skin.  is low in calories and contains dietary fibre, vitamins A and C, as well as various minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Studies talk about this vine vegetable containing various antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals, 

Summary

Indian cuisine offers a wide range of vegetables that are not only delicious but also offer numerous health benefits. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and vitamin C, aiding digestion and supporting the immune system. Onions are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, promoting heart health and regulating blood sugar levels. Spinach is packed with iron and vitamins, promoting bone health and boosting immunity. Okra is low in calories and high in fibre, aiding digestion and maintaining blood sugar levels. Other vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, bottle gourd, and ridge gourd also provide various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, supporting overall health and well-being.

Tips for Increasing Vegetable Consumption in Indian Diets

To increase vegetable consumption in Indian diets, consider the following tips:

Include a Variety of Vegetables: Aim to incorporate a wide range of vegetables in your meals, including leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables, and seasonal produce. Each vegetable offers unique health benefits and nutrient profiles.

Sneak Vegetables into Recipes: Add grated or finely chopped vegetables like carrots, capsicum, and spinach to dishes like parathas, dosas, and curries. This boosts the nutritional value without compromising the taste.

Make Vegetable-Based Soups and Salads: Prepare hearty soups and refreshing salads using a combination of colourful vegetables. These can be served as appetizers or as light meals to increase vegetable intake.

Experiment with Indian Vegetable Preparations: Explore regional Indian recipes that highlight vegetables, such as baingan bharta (roasted eggplant), aloo gobi (potato cauliflower curry), or bhindi masala (spiced okra). Embrace the flavours and textures of different vegetable-based dishes.

Plan Vegetable-Centric Meals: Designate certain meals as vegetable-centric, where vegetables take centre stage. Create vegetable stir-fries, mixed vegetable curries, or stuffed vegetable dishes for a wholesome and nutritious meal.

Snack on Vegetables: Keep cut-up vegetables like cucumber, carrot sticks, or bell pepper slices readily available for snacking. Pair them with a healthy dip like hummus or yoghurt to make it more enticing.

Summary

Including a variety of vegetables in Indian meals is essential for a nutritious diet. Sneak vegetables into recipes like parathas and curries to increase their nutritional value. Vegetable-based soups and salads are also great options. Explore regional Indian recipes that focus on vegetables, and plan vegetable-centric meals with stir-fries or stuffed dishes. Snack on cut-up vegetables with healthy dips for a convenient and healthy option. By incorporating vegetables in various ways, you can enjoy their diverse health benefits and enhance the overall nutritional value of your meals.

Cooking Methods to Retain Nutrients in Vegetables

While cooking vegetables, it’s important to retain their nutritional value. Here are some cooking methods that help preserve the nutrients in Indian vegetables:

Steaming: Steaming is a gentle cooking method that retains the natural flavours and nutrients of vegetables. Place the vegetables in a steamer basket or a colander over boiling water and cook until they are tender yet crisp. Steaming helps to preserve water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B vitamins.

Stir-Frying: Stir-frying involves quickly cooking vegetables in a small amount of oil over high heat. This method retains the crunchiness and colour of the vegetables while minimizing nutrient loss. To retain the nutrients, cook vegetables for a short time, constantly stirring to prevent overcooking.

Sautéing: Sautéing involves cooking vegetables in a small amount of oil or ghee over medium heat. It helps retain the flavours and nutrients of vegetables. To preserve nutrients, cook vegetables until they are just tender and avoid overcooking.

Blanching: Blanching involves briefly boiling vegetables and then rapidly cooling them in ice water to halt the cooking process. It helps retain the colour, texture, and nutrients of vegetables. Blanching is particularly useful for green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli.

Microwaving: Microwaving is a quick and convenient method that helps preserve the nutrients in vegetables. Use minimal water and cover the vegetables to retain steam and nutrients. Microwaving for a short duration ensures minimal nutrient loss.

V. Seasonal Fruits

Seasonal Fruits in India and Their Health Benefits

India is blessed with a rich variety of fruits that vary according to the seasons. Here are some popular seasonal fruits in India and their health benefits:

1.Mango: Known as the “king of fruits,” mangoes are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and fibre. They promote healthy digestion, boost immunity, support eye health, and provide a refreshing taste during the summer season.

Read More: Mango – Benefits, Nutrition, Calories And Recipes

2. Watermelon: Watermelon is a hydrating fruit with high water content. It is rich in vitamins A and C and also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that supports heart health. Watermelon is a perfect choice to beat the summer heat and stay hydrated.

Read More: Watermelon – Benefits, Nutrition, Calories, & Recipes

3. Guava: Guava is a tropical fruit packed with vitamin C, dietary fibre, and antioxidants. It aids digestion, boosts immunity, and promotes healthy skin. Guava is available in different varieties and is enjoyed during the monsoon season.

Read More: Guava – Benefits, Nutritional Facts, & Healthy Recipes

4. Papaya: Papaya is a tropical fruit known for its digestive enzymes, such as papain. It is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fibre. Papaya supports digestion, promotes skin health, and provides relief from constipation.

Read More: Papaya – Benefits, Nutrition, And Weight Loss

5. Pomegranate: Pomegranate is a nutritious fruit loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and fibre. It supports heart health, boosts immunity, improves digestion, and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.

Read More: Pomegranate – Benefits, Nutrition Value, Uses, And More

6. Oranges: Oranges are a citrus fruit rich in vitamin C, which boosts immunity and promotes healthy skin. They are also a good source of dietary fibre and provide a refreshing taste during the winter season.

Read More: Orange Fruit – Benefits, Nutritional Facts, Healthy Recipes

Summary

India is abundant in a diverse range of seasonal fruits, each offering unique health benefits. Mangoes, known as the “king of fruits,” are rich in vitamins and fibre, aiding digestion and boosting immunity. Watermelon, with its high water content and lycopene, supports heart health and hydration. Guava, packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, promotes digestion and healthy skin. Papaya’s digestive enzymes and nutrients promote digestion and relieve constipation. Pomegranate’s antioxidants and vitamins support heart health and immunity. Oranges, rich in vitamin C, are refreshing and beneficial for the skin.

Ways to Include Fruits in Indian Meals and Snacks

Incorporating fruits into Indian meals and snacks can be a delicious and nutritious way to boost your overall health. Here are some simple ways to include fruits in your daily diet:

Fresh Fruit Salad: Prepare a colourful fruit salad using a variety of seasonal fruits. Add a sprinkle of chaat masala or a drizzle of lemon juice for an Indian twist.

Smoothies and Shakes: Blend your favourite fruits with yoghurt or milk to create refreshing smoothies and shakes. You can add a pinch of cardamom or a dash of honey for added flavour.

Fruit Chaat: Combine chopped fruits like apples, bananas, pomegranate seeds, and oranges with a tangy dressing made of lemon juice, black salt, and chaat masala. It makes for a flavorful and healthy snack.

Fruit Parfait: Layer yoghurt, granola, and diced fruits like mangoes, berries, or kiwi in a glass to create a nutritious and visually appealing dessert.

Fruit Lassi: Blend fruits like mangoes, strawberries, or bananas with yoghurt to make a refreshing and healthy fruit lassi.

Fruit-Infused Water: Add slices of fruits like lemon, cucumber, or berries to water for a naturally flavoured and hydrating drink.

Remember to choose fresh and ripe fruits, and try to include a variety of fruits in your diet to benefit from their diverse range of nutrients.

VI. Dairy

Indian cuisine incorporates various dairy products that are not only delicious but also offer several health benefits. Here are some common staple Indian dairy products and their respective benefits:

1.Milk (Doodh): Milk is a rich source of calcium, protein, vitamins (such as vitamin D and B12), and minerals. It promotes healthy bone development, aids in muscle growth and repair, and supports overall growth and development.

2. Curd/ Yoghurt (Dahi): Yoghurt is packed with probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that promote gut health and aid digestion. It also contains calcium, protein, and vitamins. Regular consumption of yoghurt can strengthen the immune system and improve digestion.

Read More: 10 Reasons That Make Curd A Summer Superfood

3. Paneer: Paneer is a type of fresh cheese made from cow’s milk. It is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Paneer is low in sodium and carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes. It also provides essential amino acids needed for muscle development and repair.

Read More: Why Should You Include Paneer In Your Diet?

4. Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter and is widely used in Indian cooking. It is rich in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Ghee is considered beneficial for digestion, brain health, and boosting the immune system. However, it should be consumed in moderation due to its high calorie and fat content.

Read More: 6 Health Benefits Of Ghee & How To Make Ghee At Home

5. Buttermilk (Chaas): Buttermilk is a refreshing and probiotic-rich beverage. It aids digestion, cools the body, and provides hydration. Buttermilk is low in fat and calories, making it a healthier alternative to sugary drinks.

Read More: Buttermilk: A Nectar For Human Beings

6. Lassi: Lassi is a popular yoghurt-based drink that comes in various flavours like sweet, salted, or fruity. It provides probiotics, calcium, protein, and vitamins. Lassi helps in digestion, provides hydration, and is a refreshing beverage during summer.

Summary 

Indian cuisine offers a variety of dairy products that are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits. Milk is rich in calcium, protein, and vitamins, supporting bone development and muscle growth. Yoghurt contains probiotics, aiding digestion and strengthening the immune system. Paneer is a protein and calcium-rich fresh cheese suitable for individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes. Ghee, although consumed in moderation, offers fat-soluble vitamins and promotes digestion and brain health. Buttermilk is a hydrating beverage that aids digestion, while lassi, a yoghurt-based drink, provides probiotics, calcium, and hydration.

VII. Spices 

India is known for its vibrant and aromatic spices that not only enhance the flavours of dishes but also offer various health benefits. Here are some staple Indian spices and their respective health benefits:

1.Turmeric (Haldi): Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. It supports joint health, aids digestion, boosts immunity, and may have potential anticancer properties.

Read More: Turmeric – Benefits, Nutritional Value, Weight Loss & Uses

2. Cumin (Jeera): Cumin seeds are rich in iron and antioxidants. They aid digestion, promote weight loss, and may have antimicrobial properties. Cumin is also known for its ability to relieve flatulence and improve digestion.

Read More: Turmeric – Benefits, Nutritional Value, Weight Loss & Uses

3. Coriander (Dhania): Coriander seeds and leaves are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. They aid digestion, support heart health, and may help reduce blood sugar levels. Coriander also has antioxidant properties.

Read More: Coriander – Benefits, Nutritional Values, & Healthy Recipes

4. Cardamom (Elaichi): Cardamom has a distinct flavour and is known for its digestive benefits. It helps relieve gas, bloating, and indigestion. Cardamom may also have antimicrobial properties and can freshen breath.

Read More: Coriander – Benefits, Nutritional Values, & Healthy Recipes

5. Cinnamon (Dalchini): Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote heart health. Cinnamon also adds a delightful aroma to dishes.

Read More: Cinnamon: Health Benefits, Weight Loss, And Recipes

6. Ginger (Adrak): Ginger is well-known for its digestive properties and is often used to alleviate nausea and indigestion. It has anti-inflammatory effects, boosts immunity, and may help relieve cold and flu symptoms.

Read More: Benefits, Nutritional Value And Ways To Add Ginger

7. Cloves (Laung): Cloves have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. They can help soothe toothaches and relieve respiratory issues. Cloves also aid digestion and may support liver health.

Read More: Cloves – Benefits, Uses, Nutrition, & Side Effects

8. Black Pepper (Kali Mirch): Black pepper contains piperine, which enhances nutrient absorption. It aids digestion, promotes weight loss, and may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Read More: Black Pepper – Benefits, Nutrition Value & Uses Of Pepper

9. Chili Powder (Lal Mirch): Chili powder adds spice and heat to dishes. It contains capsaicin, which may boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and provide pain relief. Chilli powder also has antioxidant properties.

Summary

India’s staple spices are not only known for enhancing flavours but also offer various health benefits. Turmeric contains curcumin, aiding joint health and digestion. Cumin aids digestion and weight loss. Coriander supports heart health and helps reduce blood sugar levels. Cardamom aids digestion and freshens breath. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels and promotes heart health. Ginger alleviates nausea and boosts immunity. Cloves soothe toothaches and aid digestion. Black pepper enhances nutrient absorption and aids digestion. Chilli powder boosts metabolism and acts as an antioxidant. These spices contribute to the overall well-being of individuals.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Indian Cuisine was well known for its versatility and spice profile but now is gaining popularity worldwide due to how healthy our basic day-to-day food is. We have perfected the art of being able to combine grains in such a way that all your nutritional needs are met. One example of this is a simple dal chawal or dal with rice. We require amino acids, which are what we used to build proteins in the body, in certain amounts and combinations. Rice has a certain number of them and dal provides the remaining. So while eating either rice or dal doesn’t complete your nutritional needs, their combination is an ideal one. This i just one example of how Indian Cuisine is perfectly balanced.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Indian cuisine is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a treasure trove of health benefits. From vibrant vegetables to aromatic spices and dairy products, Indian cuisine offers a diverse range of ingredients that promote overall well-being. Incorporating these staples into our diets can provide essential nutrients, support digestion, boost immunity, aid in weight management, and contribute to heart health. Whether it’s the turmeric in curries, the cumin in lentil dishes, or the cardamom in chai tea, the use of these staple ingredients adds both flavour and nutritional value to Indian cuisine, making it a truly wholesome and enriching culinary experience.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here

Q. What are some common staple foods in Indian cuisine?

Some common staple foods in Indian cuisine include rice, wheat, lentils (dal), vegetables, spices, dairy products like milk, curd, and ghee, as well as regional variations like roti, dosa, idli, and biryani.

Q. Is Indian food healthy?

Indian food can be healthy as it incorporates a variety of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and spices. However, it’s important to note that the healthiness of Indian food depends on cooking methods, portion sizes, and ingredient choices. Traditional Indian cuisine emphasizes balanced meals with a mix of nutrients, but it’s always wise to be mindful of added fats, oils, and sugars.

Q. How can I make Indian food healthier?

To make Indian food healthier, focus on incorporating more vegetables, opting for lean protein sources, using minimal oil and ghee, and choosing whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat. Experiment with cooking methods like steaming, grilling, or baking instead of deep-frying. Also, be mindful of portion sizes and balance your meals with a variety of foods.

Q. What are some healthy spices used in Indian cooking?

Some healthy spices commonly used in Indian cooking include turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. These spices not only enhance the flavours of dishes but also offer various health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, aiding digestion, and boosting immunity.

Q. How can I incorporate Indian flavours into my diet if I’m not familiar with Indian cuisine?

Start by experimenting with common Indian spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander. You can use them to season roasted vegetables, soups, stews, or stir-fries. Explore Indian-inspired recipes or try incorporating Indian flavours into familiar dishes. Gradually introduce yourself to more traditional Indian dishes to expand your palate and experience the diverse flavours of Indian cuisine.

Q. Can Indian food be spicy?

Yes, Indian food can be spicy. Spices like chilli peppers are commonly used to add heat and flavour to dishes. However, not all Indian dishes are spicy, and the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference. Many Indian recipes also offer milder versions or can be modified to reduce spice levels.

Reference Links 

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Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata): A food with functional properties aimed to type 2 diabetes prevention and management: https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1750-3841.15939

A review on Luffa acutangula: A potential medicinal plant: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335842958_A_review_on_Luffa_acutangula_A_potential_medicinal_plant

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