Health Benefits of Indian Spices
Over the years, Indian cuisine has become more and more popular, especially in the UK. With the introduction of Anglo-Indian cuisine, there is a curry house in nearly every town and Indian food has become one of the most loved takeaways in Britain. Indian cuisine is stereotypically bad for your health. However, this doesn’t have to be the case and if you choose your meal wisely, it could turn out to be quite the opposite.
The most recognizable item of Indian food is probably the spices that are included in the curries. With the spices being the main source of flavor, they make the food unique and something to be desired. Over the years, tests have shown the advantages of the spices and the benefits they have on the consumer.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric has been used in Indian food for years and is rife in antioxidants. The antioxidants are well known for having numerous health benefits, including fighting cancer and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. The spice is mainly used for adding fragrance and a spicy flavour to plain rice, making it enjoyable as well as helping to protect health. The natural treatment of turmeric, specifically curcumin makes it the desirable option for treating health and making it an addition to the diet is likely to have numerous benefits.
What may be surprising to some is the fact that the spiciness of Indian food is not necessarily the consequence of the chillies included in the cuisine. Notorious for their spice, some chillies are overpowered by other ingredients in the food and can be enjoyed without making your eyes water. Red chillies are the least spicy and fortunately, the ones with the most health benefits. Chillies have been found to help protect against diabetes forming and it is thought the compound reacts with the liver, resulting in an altered insulin production. Chilli powder is the spiciest of all chilli products and its potent flavor can in fact harm health and irritate the stomach so should be avoided or used in moderation.
Cumin Seeds –
These are used for their distinct flavor and are extremely popular in the production of Indian food. While it is often found in chilli powder, to gain the full benefits of the spice it is recommended to source it naturally. They can be used either as a full seed or may be ground when adding them to food. Cumin is well known for boosting the immune system and consequently helps to fight flu and can control stomach pain.
While there are many health benefits associated with Indian food, it is important that you make informed choices. Some curries include thick gravies, most of which are produced with large amounts of yogurt, cream or ghee and therefore may counteract the benefits of the spices. A vegetable sauce with chicken tikka provides the health benefits associated with the cuisine along with a flavorsome meal, the best of both worlds.