"associated with a long life and good health.”
When it comes to healthy foods in India, there are some delicious options which are packed with nutrients.
The ingredients and styles of cooking in Indian cuisine vary based on region, season and family tradition.
You can find everything from meat-based curries to vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as an assortment of spices and ingredients that give each dish its distinct flavour profile.
But it can be unhealthy due to its ingredients or cooking methods.
Fortunately, there are several dishes that are beneficial to your health without compromising on the flavour.
They are packed with nutrients which can help with things like weight loss.
As a result, they are frequently eaten across India.
With that said, here are seven popular healthy foods that are eaten in India.
One of the healthiest, and tastiest foods eaten in India is dhokla.
Dhokla may be native to Gujarat but it is commonly served in other parts of India, usually for breakfast.
It is a soft and mildly spiced steamed cake, often served with chutney.
In some preparations, brown mustard seeds and curry leaves are fried in oil before being poured over the dhokla, adding more flavour.
They are very popular because they are steamed, a healthier cooking option compared to frying.
Dhokla is low in calories and high in fibre, making it ideal for weight loss.
Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora says:
“Apart from aiding digestion, the lactic acid bacteria present in fermented foods also alter the pH balance in the intestines, which is associated with a long life and good health.”
Dosa is an indispensable South Indian staple. Every bite of the thin, wafer-like crepes filled with flavourful masalas presents a wide array of flavours to your palette.
Dosa may be a popular Indian dish but it is not very healthy.
As a result, many create healthier alternatives and one of the most popular varieties is ragi dosa.
It is made using ragi flour, which is finger millet powder.
This type of flour is very healthy, especially for those wanting to lose weight as ragi is high in protein and fibre.
It also lowers cholesterol and is unsaturated. Therefore, it is good for weight loss and diabetes.
When it comes to healthy foods in India, daal leads the way.
It is a fragrant lentil curry flavoured with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, garam masala and other spices.
Coming in many varieties, not only is daal loaded with nutrients but they are also packed with protein, making this dish popular among vegetarians and vegans.
Daal is high in insoluble fibre, as well as high quantities of prebiotic carbohydrates.
Insoluble fibre passes through your gut undigested to help promote bowel regularity. And prebiotic carbs support the growth of gut-friendly probiotics, which may be beneficial for mental health.
This is because the gut and brain communicate closely, forming the ‘gut-brain axis’.
Notably, gut bacteria may increase the production of mood-enhancing brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Poha is a well-known Indian breakfast dish. It is made of flattened rice that is soaked in water and then tempered in onions and various spices.
When topped with peanuts and peas, it has a welcoming texture.
Compared to regular rice, poha contains fewer calories and has no starch.
The addition of other ingredients boosts the nutritional value of this dish, providing calcium and iron as well as fibre and protein, which may help you feel full for longer.
This is beneficial when it comes to weight loss.
This dish is made of chickpeas which are simmered in a spiced tomato sauce.
It is typically paired with roti or naan.
Chole masala is a popular healthy food as chickpeas are high in protein, providing vegetarians and vegans with their protein intake.
This also contains substantial amounts of eight of the nine essential amino acids, which are the foundations of protein.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, chickpeas offer a significant portion of heart-healthy fibre.
Studies have found that people who eat more chickpeas are less likely to develop heart disease.
One of India’s top healthy foods is chilla.
Closely resembling pancakes, chillas are infused with spices and served with Indian pickles, sour cream or plain yoghurt.
Chilla can also be eaten with chopped cucumber and tomatoes.
Chilla is usually prepared with besan flour (chickpea) but it can also be made out of sprouted mung beans.
The healthier option is with mung beans because they contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have been shown to combat diseases such as diabetes.
Test-tube studies suggest that they may provide anti-cancer benefits as well.
Bhindi masala is a mouthwatering dish. Okra is prepared in a spicy tomato-based sauce and served with roti or naan.
It is also one of the healthiest as okra is high in dietary fibre, which is associated with better blood sugar control.
For those managing diabetes, eating high-fibre foods is important.
It is also believed that okra has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in managing symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of interrelated conditions such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol levels – all of which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
These healthy foods are some of the popular in India.
Not only do they promise flavour but they also offer numerous health benefits.
Their fresh, natural ingredients make sure you get the maximum amount of nutrients to your body.
They can also help manage certain health problems such as diabetes.
So, if you are looking for a healthy and tasty Indian dish, check out these options.