The many health benefits of Indian cuisine

2:49 AM
When many of us in the UK think about Indian food, we often think of heavy, gut-busting fare packed with calories and laden with fat, perhaps washed down with a few beers, too. But the reality of Indian cuisine is very different; in fact, the foods eaten in India are largely very good for you and much of the country’s population is vegetarian, meaning that their diets consist of fresh vegetables, pulses, grains, and plenty of herbs and spices.

There’s more to Indian food than creamy kormas and fried snacks. Here are just some of the health benefits offered by the foods of India:

Joint health

Ginger is one of the most widely used ingredients in Indian cooking, so it’s lucky that it’s so good for our bodies. Packed with antioxidants that react with free radicals, which are often the cause of joint inflammation and tissue damage, ginger can help to improve our joint health and reduce the pain of arthritis.

Improved mood

Many fine-dining Indian brasseries will feature lean red meat on their menus, usually cooked on the tandoor. As well as containing essential B vitamins, which helps our bodies release energy from food, lean red meat has been found to be a natural mood enhancer.

Immune system boost

Spices such as chilli and paprika are known for their ability to trigger the body’s natural defenses, producing additional mucus which in turn traps incoming viruses and calms inflamed passages. Garlic, another essential cooking ingredient in Indian cuisine, also contains allicin and is believed to have antifungal, antibiotic and antiviral properties.

Cognitive health

According to studies conducted by the University of California, turmeric could be a highly effective ingredient for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because a chemical found in the spice, called curcumin, prevents the build-up of knots in the brain which can cause the disease; in fact, it could reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s by up to half.

Increased metabolism

Rather than making you put on weight, consuming more Indian cuisine could in fact help you lose it. Spices such as chilli contain capsaicin, which has been found to raise the body’s metabolic rate for up the three hours after being consumed, meaning that the body burns more calories long after you’ve finished that curry.

Reduced cancer risk

It’s a big claim, but studies have confirmed that consuming cooked tomatoes more than three times a week can reduce the risk of obtaining many forms of cancer. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and the lycopene content actually increases when tomatoes are cooked. So, tomato-based dishes such as Rogan Josh could actually help to protect your long-term health.

If you are only familiar with standard curry house meals that feel as if they are doing more harm than good, head down to one of London’s best fine-dining Indian restaurants. The expert chefs here use the freshest ingredients to create a range of flavourful dishes that are a treat for your taste buds as well as your overall health and wellbeing - what are you waiting for?

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