The Healthy and Unhealthy Aspects of Eating Indian Food
Health Aspects of Indian Food
People from India (Indians) are among the most ancient people on the planet. They created yoga over 5,000 years ago. I feel that they have the best tasting food especially for people that do not eat meat. This article was written June 30, 2013.
Most Indians are Hindustani and since they consider cows holy, they do not eat them. They do get milk from the cows. Many Indians are vegetarian like Mahatma Gandhi. He said:
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way in which its animals are treated.
Other Indians will eat a little bit of meat like chicken as a side dish. So their Indian food diet is mostly vegetables and rice. In America you go to a Diner and order a vegetable like peas and corn, you get the vegetables sitting in a puddle of water. No wonder kids say that they do not eat vegetables.
In India they will mix different vegetables with some kind of delicious sauce. The sauce is the magic of their food. Then people can serve themselves rice and add the saucy food to it and they can control how dry or saucy the food is.
So probably the healthiest aspect of their diet is they eat their food very hot (spicy) like Mexicans do. They use hot pepper but as far as what it is called, it is very complex if you look it up. Many call it cayenne pepper but in the ingredient list for saag paneer, they call it red chili pepper. Wikipedia says about cayenne pepper:
The cayenne pepper—also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper—is a hot chili pepper used to flavour dishes. It is red colored when ripened to maturity, but also eaten while still green. It is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika and others.
They eat food so hot that if an American were starving to death, they would not be willing to eat the Indian food. I have been to many Indian restaurants. They allow you to choose between mild, medium and hot (spicy). Many times the mild was barely edible since it was so hot.
Cayenne pepper is the best herb in American herbology. Here is an article called 17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper. It is great for circulation making it good to reduce chances of getting heart attacks and strokes. Here is one benefit from the above:
9. Useful for Blood Clots
Cayenne pepper also helps reduce atherosclerosis, encourages fibrinolytic activity and prevents factors that lead to the formation of blood clots, all of which can help reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke.
Please note that in the U.S. heart attacks and strokes are the first and third leading causes of death. Curry is a spice that is commonly used in India. It is actually a group of spices that can vary. The organic curry that I use has all ingredients as organic. It contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, red pepper (cayenne), cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.
All of these herbs or spices are great for health but usually the first herb in curry is turmeric meaning that it has more turmeric than anything else. Turmeric and its phytochemical curcumin has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its health benefits and it may be the most anti-inflammatory food. Note that some Indian dishes do not use curry but do use turmeric. Here is an article called the 12 Health Benefits of Turmeric.
Indians only eat basmati rice since it is the best tasting rice and it grows at the base of the Himalayas. When you see their rice in their food, it is yellow. Basmati rice is white but they add turmeric to it that gives it its yellow color (see picture above).
For more benefits of them eating no or very little meat see Latest Science on Health Benefits of a Plant-Based or Vegan Diet.
Unhealthy Aspects of Indian Food
Indian food does contain refined sugar and that is not healthy. Also the dairy in Indian food is not healthy. Adult humans were not meant to consume milk and that includes cow's milk. Over 60% of adult humans in the world cannot digest milk.
A guy on a video says that if you went to the store and they had gorilla milk, would you drink it. No you would not drink it cause that is gross. So what makes cow's milk any better than gorilla's milk. In fact gorillas share 98% of our DNA.
Is basmati rice good or bad for your health. I guess that you have heard that whole grains are healthier than refined grains. See the article: Why Whole Grains Are Much Healthier Than Refined Grains. In India they do not eat brown basmati rice but basmati rice that has been refined.
There is a story about how in India sometimes they build a big ditch to bury many bodies and they also throw in there the rice germ and rice bran that they removed from the brown rice. Then they say that if they did not throw away the healthiest parts of the rice, then they would not need to bury so many bodies. In the U.S. when they refine the rice, the rice bran and rice germ is then sold in health food stores but not in the sick food stores.
Also in the U.S. many Indians are eating brown basmati rice. Also more and more Indian restaurants are serving both basmati rice and brown basmati rice. In the University of Pennsylvania area there are a lot of Indian restaurants and they all serve brown basmati rice. Please note that there are also many stores that sell sushi made with brown rice.
So you may want to try some Indian food at a restaurant if you have not done this recently. As far as the food being too hot, you can add more rice to help dilute the heat and you can eat more of the Indian bread. Please note that Indians have been using these spices for thousands of years before we learned that they are so healthy for people.
Another unhealthy aspect of Indian Food is they do not eat much raw food. Salads do not exist in Indian foods but Indian restaurants are making them available to people. They may also be introducing more raw food to their Indian dishes.
An Indian asked me advice on losing weight since he and his wife were gaining weight. I suggested that he eat brown basmati rice. He said that he does not like the taste of it. Then he asked me what it tastes like. I told him that it tastes similar but has a more nutty taste.
Why Refine Rice Around the World
Since it takes a lot of work to refine the rice, you may think that they do it since the refined rice tastes better. It does not taste better (tastes adopt to what people eat). So why do it? Once I was in a health food store and the air conditioner was broken. So they left the front door open. They had bulk bins of brown rice and rice (white rice) so people could take exactly as much as they wanted. Refrigeration is recent but they did not have it for thousands of years.
So the bins with brown rice were filled with moths and the babies are like little worms that look like rice but they crawl. The bins with white rice had no moths in them. So that is why they refine it. But now you can put rice in a freezer and that will kill moths or moth eggs in it. The moths know that the refined rice is not a good food to eat by instinct.
"The Healthy Indian Diet" Book by Dr Raj Patel and SMTC
What is Organic Food? How is it Certified in India?
Health and Indian Food
More by this Author
A vegan diet is supposed to protect people from cancer. So why did Steve Jobs, the richest vegan ever, get cancer.
This tells about at least 15 health benefits of aloe vera. This is one of the top 5 searched for herbs on the NCCAM website for 2012.
This tells about the many benefits of eating one meal a day.