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Ten magical ingredients that make Indian food healthy

 Ten magical ingredients  that make Indian food healthy

Food and spices are a way of life in India. It not only covers our appetite but encompasses our life. But there are spices and food items in India which genuinely boost your health and are highly nutritious. Although Indian food is often associated with rich, spicy flavours, they have ingredients that have a unique way of rejuvenating your health. Here we present a list of ten items in the Indian culinary world that can be used in various ways to your benefit:

Turmeric (Haldi)

01 Turmeric (Haldi)

The golden yellow-hued spice has been used in India in both food and medicines for millenniums. A study says curcumin, the active chemical compound in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties. In India, most dishes with vegetables, lentils and other items include turmeric. The journal Foods states that adding black pepper to a food item with turmeric increases curcumin absorption by 2000%. In addition, if you combine turmeric with warm milk, it enhances your overall health exponentially.

02 Chickpeas (Chana)

The scientific journal Nutrients, in its 2016 study, stated that frequent intake of chickpeas means your body is regularly provided with vital nutrients like Vitamins A, E, C, magnesium, potassium, iron, dietary fibre, healthy fats, and folate. USDA data suggests, half cup of chickpeas holds over seven gms of protein and six gms of fibre. If you want a flavourful yet healthy recipe for chickpeas, then the Indian chana masala is an absolute favourite.

Chickpeas (Chana)

Mung beans

03 Mung beans

These green beans, small in shape, aren’t yet popular in western cooking. However, USDA says only half a cup of these beans is a high-quality source of protein and fibre. Moreover, Journal of Food Science research has elaborated that they have many health benefits as they are high in antioxidants and minerals. The famous dish of India ‘dal tadka’ contains mung beans made with ginger, garlic and other spices, which can be consumed with rice and chapatti.

04 Rajma (Red kidney beans)

Popularly known as red kidney beans, research shows Rajma lowers the chances of risky diseases like cancer, obesity, diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease. Some studies recommend kidney beans as they benefit gut health and increase insulin sensitivity due to a fibrelike material in them. If you want to cook a tasty, healthy treat, then Rajma chawal is a staple favourite. Kidney beans can also be mixed in salad, soups or can replace meat in curries or tacos.

Rajma (Red kidney beans)


05 Lentils (Daal)

Lentils come in various colours and flavours and are a reliable resource for plant-based protein. As per USDA data, lentils are a good source of iron, while Today’s Dietician says soluble fibre in lentils can lower bad cholesterol and might aid with glycemic control. And for people who care for the climate, this is an environmentally sustainable crop, according to Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. There are innumerable ways in Indian cuisine to prepare lentils which can be served with rice or roti. Moreover, they can be put in soup and salads or mashed to create a dip.

06 Ginger (Adrak)

Gingerol in ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In addition, it has been proven to soothe nausea and indigestion. A review published in Phytotherapy Research studied how ginger helps reduce pain while aromatherapy relieves menstrual, migraine, and knee pain. ‘Adrak chai’ or ginger tea is an Indian favourite, although ginger adds flavour to vegetable dishes as well.


Cinnamon (Dalchini)

07 Cinnamon (Dalchini)

A study conducted by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine has acknowledged the presence of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties in cinnamon. This spice comes from the bark of Cinnamomum Verum trees. In addition, cinnamon improves blood glucose and decreases fasting blood sugars. A key ingredient in garam masala, it is also used in savoury dishes in India.

08 Cumin (Jeera)

This multipurpose spice has been linked to helping in weight loss. Research by Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice has shown that many women with weight issues reduced their weight, BMI and body fat when their diet was supplemented with cumin. Cumin is used in everyday cooking in India, both in seeds or powdered form. If wanting to lose weight, you can use it in vegetables, beans or chilli.

Cumin (Jeera)

Fenugreek (Methi)

09 Fenugreek (Methi)

Many studies recommend that fenugreek might also lower blood sugar in patients with diabetes or pre-diabetic cases. It also helps increase milk supply in breastfeeding women. Fenugreek can be added to any side dish as part of the cooking or be enjoyed as herbal tea.

10 Bitter Melon (Karela)

The bitter-tasting karela is essentially an Asian vegetable – low in calories, high in fibre. But perhaps most importantly, it is high in vitamin C content, and we all know how vitamin C boosts our immune function. So you are bound to find this at an Indian or Asian grocery store and must try it sautéed with onion, garlic, and tomatoes.

Bitter Melon (Karela)

Nivedita Nagpal

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