Indian Food Culture

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The Indian food is liked throughout the world because of its taste, texture and the benefit it offers. The Indian food offers many benefits, especially if it is cooked in a healthy oil like olive oil or canola oil and in a healthy manner. Facts On Indian Food 1. Many Indian are vegetarians and they eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and plant-based proteins. These foods contain essential micro-nutrients and vitamins that produce antioxidants which are good for heart, blood pressure and diabetes. But Indians, in general, consume less amount of vegetables. Indians, therefore, face heart attacks five years earlier than people in the West,” according to Dr Deepak Natarajan of Apollo hospital, Delhi. 2. The rate of Alzheimer’s disease in India is about four times lower than in the USA which is attributed to the use of spices. Many spices used in Indian cooking protect against cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Spices are also good for the metabolism of the body. 3. The Indian foods are rich in whole grains including lentils, legumes and dried beans such as kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed beans, etc.

Whole grains are good sources of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals; and low in fat and are heart friendly. Whole grains may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and cancers of the stomach and mouth. 4. The Indian bread is made of whole wheat flour as opposed to the American people who eat generally bread made up of white flour. 5. The South Indians eat special dishes like idlis and dosa (idli recipe) that use fermented lentils and rice. All of these are very nutritious and healthy. Indian Cooking & Nutrition

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By 2010, India will carry 60 percent of the world’s heart disease burden, nearly four times more than its share of the global population, according to a study released by Denis Xavier of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore in April 2008. * An Indian dish may be very high in calories or energy (mostly from fat) if it is cooked by deep frying, or it may be low in calories or fat if it is stir fried or baked. * The rich creamy dishes containing foods covered with lot of spice colored liquid are often very high in fat (mostly saturated fat and trans-fat), while the tandoori dishes are low in fat.

The research conducted by “Which” magazine (Feb 2010) of Britain found that a single meal of Indian curry in Britain has more fat than the recommendation for the entire day, an average Indian takeaway contained 23. 2 g of saturated fat, 3. 2 g more than a woman should eat in a day. Indian takeaway meals are known for their liberal use of ghee and oil, not only in curries but also on breads. The researchers found that a naan contained more calories than a chicken tikka masala| * Indian often reheat the food, the reheating destroys the nutrients of the food. Indian food is often overcooked, destroying its nutrition. * The North Indian dishes are very rich in taste and presentation as compared to South Indian food. The North Indian foods, specially Punjabi food are generally higher in calories and fat and lower in nutritional value, than South Indian food because Punjabi cooking involves tarka or vaghar (frying of spices, onions, etc. ) in pure ghee (high in saturated fat), butter, oil or trans fats (hydrogenated oils and fats, vanaspati) that gives unique Indian taste and texture. The tandoori foods of North India are rich in nutrition and natural flavours, but often these are loaded with fats. A research reported at a conference on “Fats and trans-fatty acids in Indian diet” at the Seventh Health Writers Workshop organised by Health Essayists and Authors League (HEAL) in 2007 found that while the trans-fatty acids in French fries is 4. 2 – 6. 1%, it is 9. 5% in bhatura, 7. 8% in paratha and 7. 6% each in puri and tikkis. How to Preserve Nutrition in Indian Cooking? The health benefits of the Indian food depend on the method of cooking.

The tips for preserving the nutritive value of Indian food are given below. 1. If a recipe calls for too much cream, yogurt, ghee or oil and crushed cashews, then the dish will be very rich in taste and texture, but without any nutritional value. The north Indian food, Punjabi food and the foods available in restaurants are cooked (rather over-cooked) like this and they are higher in fat and lower in nutritional value. These foods are generally prepared with deep frying onions, ginger, and spices in lot of oil or ghee. 2.

Instead of deep frying, you can stir-fry or saute them in very little vegetable oil. The over-cooked foods lose their nutrition because, in the process, the vitamins and minerals are leached out. You should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp. 3. Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etcfor cooking, these are not healthy. Many restaurants and shops use trans-fats for cooking tikkis, bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and even sweets and vegetable curries 4. Do not chop the vegetbles into too small pieces.

The vegetable will lose its nutrients if it has more exposed surfaces to the atmosphere. 5. Always chop the vegetables only when you cook them, do not chop and leave them for a long time. 6. Do not wash the vegetables like spinach, zucchini, lauki, etc. after chopping to preserve their nutrients. 7. When you stir-fry, do not overheat the oil. 8. If you make pakoras, keep the besan batter thick. Deep frying of thin batter pakoras absorb too much oil during frying. 9. Do not add ghee or oil for making the dough of poori, otherwise the pooris will absorb too much oil during frying.

However, it is possible to have low calorie recipes that produce tasty dishes with very less fat and keeping the natural nutrition values. Tips For Healthy Cooking Nutrition Data of Homemade Indian Food The table below lists the nutrion data (total fat, carbohydrates, calories, and proteins of Indian foods. The table contains the data for indian home made vegetables (vegetable curries), dals (dhals), rice, snacks like samosa, idli, milk products, roti/bread/chapatti, and parantha In the following table “-” means that data are not available.

Use the table as a general guide only, as the values depend on the recipe used for preparing the dish. The fat and the calorie values are particularly dependent on the way of cooking. If you add too much ghee or oil in a dish, then these values will increase. A single samosa (samosa recipe) contains more than 350 calories, of which 160 calories (i. e. more than 40% of total calories) come from fat because of deep frying. If you eat a baked samosa instead, you will be saving theses 160 calories. Source: http://www. fatfreekitchen. com/nutrition/indian-foods. html


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