The Himalayan subcontinent is home to 1.2 billion people living in diverse settings. The food, along with the landscape, language and customs, change dramatically over the course of 1000km. With all the regional variations of cuisine and rich array of spices, the healthy-minded have a buffet of healthy options. Here are 10 healthy Indian food dishes and ingredients. They represent just a minuscule offering from India’s nutritious cuisine. Leave a comment if you know any other healthy Indian foods!
This spiced spinach dish is a staple of Punjabi cuisine, but variations of it are eaten throughout India. Spinach, mustard greens, and other leaves serve are the heart of this dish. Spinach benefits everything from blood circulation to digestive health, and the high vitamin K and lutein can even stave off Alzheimer’s. Blend the spinach with softened onion, garlic, and spices like turmeric for even more benefits.
Vegetarians, vegans, and the health conscious should keep an eye out for any dishes with the word Bhaji on an Indian menu. Bhaji is Hindi word for a dry vegetable dish served without a sauce. Sometimes they are fried and served like a fritter, other times they come in a bowl without the breading. Some variants include Bhindi Bhaji (okra) and Pav bhaji (cauliflower and peas).
This intense yellow spice gives color and flavor to many Indian curries and veg dishes. Turmeric is harvested from the rhizomes of Curcuma long, a plant native to southern Asia. The spice tastes slightly bitter and aromatic, but what’s interesting is the potential health benefits of turmeric.
Numeric has antibacterial and anti fungal properties, and its curcumin compound is a strong anti-inflammatory that might have the potential to stop many diseases. Curcumin blocks the NF-kB molecule, which causes inflammation and is thought to play a key role in forming many diseases. The extent of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are still up for debate.
Looking to lose weight? Start your day with daliyah, a whole wheat breakfast cereal popular in Northern India. Daliyah is a complex carbohydrate, so you digest it and release glucose at a slow rate. That makes it great for diabetics or those trying to lose weight (as you’ll feel full for longer).
From chai masala to black leaf Darjeeling tea, India is home to an intricate and celebrated tea culture. More than just a refreshment, tea plays an important role in the school of Ayurveda medicine. Ingredients like basil and cardamom are added to the steeped tea leaves, creating a beverage that is calming and rich in antioxidants. Check out this list of the healthiest things to add to your tea.
Power up your diet with, a protein-rich roasted grain common in Northern India. It is a flour made of Bengal gram and commonly mixed with chickpea, wheat,and barley. Because sattu is dry roasted, no nutritional value is lost in the preparation. That’s a great thing because it contains a high amount of insoluble fiber, is low on the glycemic index, and contains a respectable amount of iron, magnese, and magnesium. Use sattu flour to make roti (Indian flat bread), in drinks, or any other kind of poof pastry.
This school of snack food is common throughout India and is open to a pretty wide range of interpretations. Basically, a chaat is a small salad that includes chickpeas and some sort of fried dough. But many varieties (like this chole chaat) are now made without any fried ingredient. The protein-rich chickpeas are mixed with onion, tomato, spices, and other healthy ingredients to make a savory snack.
Yogurt is the backbone of Indian cuisine, a ubiquitous addition to many Indian dishes that softens the spice with pleasant sour notes and adds a creamy texture to the dish. Yogurt is low-fat and high protein, filled with probiotics that improve gut health. According to research published in Diabetologia, regular consumption of yogurt reduces new-onset type 2 diabetes by 28%.
A tandoor is a cylindrical clay pot that uses charcoal or wood to get the oven really, really hot, with temperatures commonly hitting 900 °F. The conductive heat lends itself best to lean proteins, so get your protein without any extra fat.
Indian chefs transform this humble legume into flavorful and filling dishes that provide vegetarian diners plenty of protein. If you order a thali (Indian sampler platter containing lots of different dishes), chances are a few of the offerings are lentil based. Lentils are low on the glycemic index, and one cup contains 63% of your daily fiber, 90% of your daily folate, and plenty of other minerals.