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Spice up your life (the healthy way!)

Updated on December 2, 2009

Everyone loves a good curry. With the delicious aromatic spices of garam masala, Cumin and Coriander to tickle your taste buds, it is no wonder that traditional cuisines like a spicy hot Vindaloo have fast become Britain’s national dish.

Whether it is the succulent hearty taste of a Chicken Tikka Masala or the mouth watering Aloo Gobi for the keen vegetarian, a curry is perfect to whet one’s appetite… but not so great for the waistline. A quick takeaway may get rid of those hunger pangs, but what affect does this have on your health?

A part from life threatening illness such as Diabetes, which are caused by the over indulgence of sweets and desserts such as Gulab Jamun (milk balls in sweet syrup), obesity, bad skin and high cholesterol are also some other common symptoms found in many people as a result of eating too many rich foods and dairy products like ghee and cheese that are high in fat. Extra excess of salt and processed chilli powder in spicy dishes are harmful and not only give you bad stomach ulcers, but can cause a dramatic increase in blood pressure.

For many top chefs, cooking is  a fine art; it takes time, preparation and patience to make a dish look appealing to the eye. The same method should be applied when preparing a home cooked meal. Here are some insightful tips to kick start your healthy lifestyle:

1. Avoid fried food at all costs. Instead of the samosas and onion bhajis, opt for lentil soup which is not only deliciously spicy, but also has zero cholesterol and is high in both protein and fibre.

2. Eat fewer portions: Imagine your plate is divided into three sections. If you are aiming to lose weight, fill a small section (about ¼) with meat and the rest with plenty of vegetables and leafy salad.

3. Eat slowly- by rushing and eating too quickly does not allow the food to digest properly and can cause indigestion and weight gain. Eating slowly allows you to enjoy your food and satisfies your hunger.

4. Fish is a tasty supplement of omega 3 fatty acids which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as angina and heart attacks. Grill the fish and prepare a sauce using very little salt, fresh tomatoes, turmeric, green peppers, ginger and garlic which are good for the heart. Cook in one tablespoon of Olive Oil with cumin seeds (jeera) for a spicy taste. -For meat dishes like chicken and lamb, use a kitchen towel to dampen the meat to soak up its natural oils. Scrape off any visible fat and either grill or oven bake.

5. Vegetables- Boil or steam vegetables and rice. Avoid tinned creamed sauces- these have highly saturated preservatives and hidden fats. Instead opt for tomato sauces which are lower in fat or use fresh ingredients to create your own paste. Avoid using ghee or butter and use either olive oil or rapeseed oil to stir fry the vegetables.

6. Chappatiis and Naans- eat either plain dry or with low fat margarine like Olivio instead of full fat butter and ghee to help reduce cholesterol.

7. Desserts- Avoid rich desserts like Gulab Jamun and instead opt for either a fruit salad with one scoop of low fat ice cream or a rice pudding made from skimmed milk and brown sugar or sweetener.

With a calorie controlled diet, cooking a curry couldn’t be made easier. So why not boost your way to a healthier new you?


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    • SXP profile image

      SXP 8 years ago from South Africa

      Now this is my kind of food, hot and spicy.

    • Kavita Trivedi profile image

      Kavita Trivedi-Kapoor 8 years ago from London

      No problem- glad you found them helpful!

    • profile image

      msmirastrology 8 years ago

      I need to bookmark this, thanks for the tips :)