Healthy Indian Food vs the Not-So-Healthy

India as a country and nation is geographically and topographically a part of the continent of Asia on its southern part, in the view of a map and on a global scale. This country is greatly known in the world because of its multifaceted history, culture, traditions, beliefs, customs and most importantly with its food, and not to mention, is the home of the picturesque Taj Mahal.

Like any country and nation in the world is concerned, India is not at an end point in the guise of boasting their cuisine to the rest of the world. The Indian Cuisine have their own trademark and imprint in terms of their array and variety of food choices and options.

What is special about Indian Cuisine?

Two attributes that can be linked with India’s food is that, first, it is culturally relevant and second, it is inherently diverse.

Culturally relevant in a sense that it promotes the Indian Culture through the use of ingredients that are vividly present in the country and in its locality.

Inherently Diverse in a sense that the food of India is not pertained and clumped in one category alone, but it represents different categories in different aspects. Food is highly beneficial in our daily lifestyle and routines. Thus, we need to keep a keen eye, heart and mind as to what kinds of food we will eat in order to strengthen our bodily functioning and support its process within.

In this article, we will find out the different kinds of Indian food that are healthy and unhealthy. The intent of this article is to provide care and concern for its readers to carefully select the Indian Food that they will be eating and that they are about to eat when in India. Let us begin!

The 5 Healthy Foods of India: A Closer Glimpse 

In a world full of negativity, we must be the influence that will illuminate the light of positivity. Thus, let us begin this article by having a discussion on the different kinds of food in India that are healthy. Below is the list that will evidently show them as follows: 

1: Indian Dishes with Dal 

In the origins of Hindi, “dal” is defined as lentils. On a larger scale, it is a meal made from lentils as a main ingredient.

What are lentils?

These tiny beans are composed of fiber, vitamin B6, folate and protein. These Indian dishes with dal are healthy because of its great composition of tomato-based sauces. And with the mixture of tomato in a recipe, comes a great resource of lycopene. This is responsible for lowering the fatty levels and composition in the body, as well as in the prevention of heart diseases, sunburns and cancer types. 

2. India’s Chicken Tandoori 

Chicken Tandoori is one of the most popular and familiar dishes and recipes in India. The origin of the name “Tandoori” is from the word “tandoor”. Tandoor is defined as a thick clay or stone vessel  wherein the chicken is cooked.

A connotation in India is that, once the chicken is red, it is both charred and cooked. A variation in this specific recipe and dish of India is that, a tourist can order tandoori lamb and fish, in which, similarly with chicken, it is cooked at a high temperature from fire, a gas flame or charcoal.

This Indian Food is greatly considered as healthy because the flavor that comes from the meat and marinade are natural, and the use of oil and other unnecessary fats are not a necessity, which makes it a guilt-free option. 

3. India’s Chana Masala

In India, it is both a practice and a norm that Indians eat Chana Masala at breakfast, lunch and dinner and even as a quick snack that are sold in food stalls during the conduct of local bazaars.

The main ingredients of India’s Chana Masala are chickpeas and garbanzo beans.

This Indian Food is healthy because of the legume that is present in the dish, which contains iron, fiber, Vitamin B and folate. On the other hand, the tomato and onion sauce in this dish is carefully blended with a plentiful amount of chilis, ginger, garlic and other spices which are beneficial to one’s health. 

4. India’s Aloo Gobi

In India, Aloo Gobi may not be greatly considered as the highly selected Indian recipe and dish compared to the Basmati Rice and Tikka Masala, but it is placed on the highest pedestal in terms of being a healthy Indian food.

This Indian Food is highly regarded as a healthy option because of its potato and cauliflower combination that hugely marks its high promotion for heart healthiness and good taste. The mixture in this recipe is composed of ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin. 

5. India’s Kebabs 

India’s Kebabs carries a healthy equation wherein meat is added with spices, and is cooked with the grilling process in addition, is equivalent to pure protein.

Because it is highly considered as a healthy food, a topping of tomato chutney and an option for brown rice, and whole grain rice are essentially healthy to be paired with India’s kebabs rather than the Indian pilaf. 

The 5 Unhealthy Foods of India: A Closer Glimpse

Negativity is an aspect in life that greatly takes a toll in our lives. But the real challenge for us is to prevent it from flourishing so that we can live in a world wherein a tapestry of unison and acceptance is observed as a language and a large component for understanding.

Below, is a list of the less healthy foods of Indian cuisine, wherein each and everyone of us should be careful about how much we consume (no matter how delicious they are!) so that our health is not affected and hampered.

1. India’s Naan

In India, Naan is highly equivalent to the worldly famous fries and burgers. In other words, these three go together equally in content.

In comparison to the other fluffy spuds, this soft flatbread of India has little and less in terms of nutritional value, which makes it unhealthy.

Mostly, Naan recipes are paired essentially with Greek yogurt, so that an airy texture is provided for it. But nonetheless, it is more to that, rather than being an offset of less healthy ingredients that are present in Naan which are sugar, oil and white flour. 

2. India’s Pakoras 

In India, Pakoras is culturally considered as an exotic name. But in easier terms, pakoras is just a coded word for “fried vegetables”. The composition of the pakoras are potatoes, eggplants, cauliflowers and spinach which is immensely dipped in a batter and afterwards is bathed in a large amount of hot oil.

As an advice from health experts, it is advisable for you to skip Pakoras for your delivery and dine-in cravings when in India.

On the brighter side, it is encouraged by health experts to make a healthier version of yours for Pakoras, with the use of chickpea flour and with the adaption of the baking process rather than frying them. That is much healthier as a whole. 

3. India’s Saag Paneer

In India, Saag Paneer may be healthy because of its spinach content, but on a deeper aspect, it is unhealthy. It is because of the cubes of paneer that is present and used in this Indian dish or more culturally known as the Indian Cheese.

Numerous Indian Chefs increase the fat factor present in the Saag Paneer with the process of frying it with the use of ghee or commonly known in India as clarified butter. While the other chefs, use cream and yogurt as an additive to this dish that will release its velvety texture, which makes it really unhealthy to eat.

As an advice from health experts, Saag Paneer is healthier if it is lightly cooked at home, and if a major swap of tofu is used in the dish, rather than the paneer itself. 

4. India’s Samosas

In India, Samosas are depicted as portable pockets that are ultimately known as a street food snack to Indians. The contents found in India’s Samosas are vegetables which include peas, carrots, onions and potatoes.

The unhealthy side of it is that its healthy contents are stuffed and folded in a pastry shell or wonton skin that is high in carbohydrate content and is deep fried in a bubbling fat. Thus, it is not advised by health experts to eat the Indian Samosas daily. 

5. India’s Chicken Tikka Masala

In India, this dish is popularly known as the most-ordered food in any Indian joint present in the country. But similarly with the many Indian dishes that are known nationwide to be low in fat, this modern day recipe of India’s chicken tikka masala is anything.

But the unhealthy side of this dish is that it has an average portion of 1,249 calorie content and 90.8 grams of fat content as well and these are found in its ingredients which are ghee and cream. As an advice from health experts, this dish should not be eaten daily but only occasionally as much as possible.  

What is the verdict?

In conclusion to this article, just like any country and nation is concerned, when eating Indian food and cuisine, it is far more important to take good care of our health. Thus, we need to be more responsible and cautious in our food selection as a whole by being informed of what we are eating and be careful in how often we are eating it!