Benefits of spices



A delicious curry with a pile of rice may be something to avoid at all costs on a typical weight loss plan.


But if your mouth waters at the thought of this spicy, aromatic meal, which lures 2 million people out to dine each week, you will be pleased to know that you don't have to miss out.


The oily curry is somewhat of a modern day invention. The Indian recipes taken from manuscripts written 3,000 years ago actually promoted healing.

The British then added more fat and cream to the healthy, mostly vegetarian Indian diet. Our national dish, the chicken tikka masala, now contains over 700 calories!

Curries are filled with many spices and herbs that are full of healthy properties. Dr Frankie Phillips, a nutrition scientist for the British Nutrition Foundation explains:

 "Curries contain lots of plant-derived bioactive substances and we are beginning to find out more about their link with health. Many of the spices and herbs used in traditional recipes have historically been used for their medical properties in very concentrated amounts."


It is these very spices and herbs which may help you lose weight.



The latest research from curry-loving nation, Pakistan, shows that cinnamon can reduce blood cholesterol levels by helping glucose metabolism. Tests have shown that cinnamon made a difference to diabetes type II.



Dr Rafe Bundy from Reading University explains: "They gave 60 people placebos or cinnamon and after 40 days, they found the cinnamon group had reduced blood fat and reduced bad cholesterol ˆ hence they may be able to use cinnamon to reduce the risks of diabetes."



Tests in India show that fenugreek can also lower LDL or bad cholesterol by improving metabolism. Chillies are also great for the metabolism as they trigger the release of the stimulant capsaicin into the body. Dr Bundy says:



"Warming spices, like red chillies, black pepper and ginger have an effect on adrenalin, which in turn raises metabolic rate - and you can lose weight if your metabolism is elevated." They are also thought to help asthma and arthritis.



Garlic is also said to lower cholesterol and help fight heart attacks and strokes by keeping veins clean and healthy. "Garlic is a bit of a cure for everything - it does have some cholesterol lowering properties, as you can tell from the healthy Mediterranean diet, where people eat a lot of garlic and olive oil," Dr Bundy adds.



Choose the right curry and you can enjoy a healthy and moderately low fat meal. Try a tomato-based sauce instead of a creamy one - tandoori chicken contains around half the calories of a chicken tikka masala. Order a lighter chicken, veggie or fish dish instead of fattier red meat and avoid naan breads, opting instead for a lower fat chappati.



Dr Phillips advises: "Curry can be very well balanced if the right combinations are chosen, for example, a tandoori dish with boiled basmati rice, with a side portion of vegetables, such as lentils and potato or spinach. Choose boiled basmati rice over pilau and don't eat too many papadums," she says.



To help keep the calorie count down, Dr Bundy recommends cooking at home: "If you eat lots of curries, you will get lots of good spices but you will also get too much fat. Make your own, and control the amount of fat you use. Use olive oil and fresh spices - over time these will have a positive benefit - the more you have the better." Keep some of the following curry ingredients in your cupboard, so you'll always have them at hand.



Turmeric, an Asian spice found in many curries, has a long history of use in reducing inflammation, healing wounds and relieving pain, but can it prevent diabetes? Since inflammation plays a big role in many diseases and is believed to be involved in onset of both obesity and Type 2 diabetes, Drew Tortoriello, M.D., an endocrinologist and research scientist at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and his colleagues were curious what effect


the                    herb                    might                    have                    on                    diabetic                    mice.



Dr. Tortoriello, working with pediatric resident Stuart Weisberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Rudolph Leibel, M.D., fellow endocrinologist and the co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, discovered that turmeric-treated mice were less susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes, based on their blood glucose levels, and glucose and insulin tolerance tests. They also discovered that turmeric-fed obese mice showed significantly reduced inflammation in fat tissue and liver compared to controls. They speculate that curcumin, the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant ingredient in turmeric, lessens insulin resistance and prevents Type 2 diabetes in these mouse models by dampening the inflammatory response provoked by obesity.



Their findings were presented at ENDO 2008, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco this week.



Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has no known dose-limiting toxicities in doses of up to at least 12 grams daily in humans. The researchers tested high-doses of a dietary curcumin in two distinct mouse models of obesity and Type 2 diabetes: high-fat-diet-fed male mice and leptin-deficient obese female mice, with lean wild-type mice that were fed low-fat diets used as controls.



The inflammation associated with obesity was shown several years ago by researchers in the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center to be due in part to the presence of immune cells called macrophages in fat tissues throughout the body. These cells produce "cytokine" molecules that can cause inflammation in organs such as the heart, and islets of the pancreas, while also increasing insulin resistance in muscle and liver. Researchers hypothesized that by suppressing the number and activity of these cells, with turmeric or a drug with similar actions, it may be possible to reduce some of the adverse consequences of obesity.



Curcumin administration was also associated with a small but significant decline in body weight and fat content, despite level or higher calorie consumption,


suggesting        that        curcumin       beneficially        influences        body        composition.



"It's too early to tell whether increasing dietary curcumin [through turmeric] intake in obese people with diabetes will show a similar benefit," Dr. Tortoriello said. "Although the daily intake of curcumin one might have to consume as a primary diabetes treatment is likely impractical, it is entirely possible that lower dosages of curcumin could nicely complement our traditional therapies as a natural and safe treatment."



For now, the conclusion that Dr. Tortoriello and his colleagues have reached is that turmeric – and its active anti-oxidant ingredient, curcumin – reverses many of the inflammatory and metabolic problems associated with obesity and improves blood-sugar control in mouse models of Type 2 diabetes.



In addition to exploring novel methods of curcumin administration to increase its absorption, they are also interested in identifying novel anti-inflammatory processes invoked by curcumin and in adapting those processes in the development of more potent curcumin analogues.



Funding for the study comes in part from the National Institutes of Health's Child Health and Human Development branch and the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center.


If you are trying to lose weight, scientists would recommend you to eat lots of curry.


According to the U.S. researchers, an extract of plant, used as a cooking spice - haldi, or turmeric - which is used in most of Indian dishes, has an active ingredient which could help fight an excessive weight.


The scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA), found that a meal that includes haldi will result in less gaining of weight than one with all the same ingredients apart from the yellow powder. This is because haldi contains a plant-based chemical called curcumin which appears to suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice and human



cell cultures, researchers explain. And what is even more, the polyphenol is also easily absorbed by the body. In particular, turmeric is effective when added to a meal high in fat, suggesting that it could help fight obesity. It appears that the curcumin prevents the formation of new blood vessels which, in their turn, aid to expand fatty tissue which is the cause of weight gain.


"Weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form, a process known as angiogenesis," said a lead author of the study, Dr. Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. "Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high fat diets," the scientist added.


The findings are based on the laboratory tests which the investigators conducted involving mice. They split them into two groups and had one set of mice eat food high in fat for twelve weeks, and another set was given the same food except with 500 mg of curcumin added to each meal. Both groups ate the same amount of food. Three months later, the experts found that those mice which were fed curcumin, had less weight, compared to those which did not eat it.


Curcumin turned out to be responsible for total lower body fat in the mice group that received supplementation, said Dr. Meydani, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. In those mice whose food contained curcumin, the experts were able to observe a suppression of micro vessel density in fat tissue, which means that there was less growth of blood vessels and, therefore less expansion of fat. Researchers also found that these mice had lower levels of blood cholesterol and less fat in the liver. "In general, angiogenesis and an accumulation of lipids in fat cells contribute to fat tissue growth," Dr. Meydani explained.


Reporting their findings in the May 2009 edition of the Journal of Nutrition, the investigators wrote that there were similar results in cell cultures. In addition, curcumin appeared to interfere with expression of two genes, which caused the angiogenesis progression in both cell and rodent models.


However, Dr. Meydani said in the conclusion that it is important to note, that the scientists have not discovered yet whether these same results could also be



replicated in people because, no studies have yet been conducted involving humans.


Why curries are good for you


by AMY ANDERSON, Daily Mail
















Recent research has shown that curry could actually be good for you, easing arthritis and even protecting you from Alzheimer's. Here, we look at the medicinal effects of the spices that go into a curry.


Most curries contain turmeric, cumin, allspice, cardamon, ginger, garlic and capsicum - spices with strong anti-bacterial properties. That's why they're found in dishes from hot countries, where meat needs to be preserved.


Studies have found that garlic, cinnamon and cumin can destroy up to 80 per cent of meat-borne bacteria, while ginger can slow bacterial growth by 25 per cent.


Not all curries are healthy. Avoid kormas, masalas and pasandras, which contain frightening amounts of cream. The average chicken tikka masala, for example, contains about 1,500 calories.


Dishes such as rogan josh, madras, jalfrezi and sags (with spinach) tend to have less cream but just as many healthy spices.


The least fattening combination is either a plain vegetable curry with boiled rice, or anything oven baked (tandori), as these tend to be coated in yoghurt and spices and are not fried.



Ginger could act as an effective pain reliever from the agony of arthritis. The spice



already comes as a supplement called Zinaxin. A study, carried out in the U.S. and presented at a recent British Medical Association conference, confirmed that two-thirds of those people involved in the study who were taking ginger supple-ments experienced a reduction in joint pain caused by arthritis. Ginger is also a traditional cold remedy and contains the antioxidants gingerol, shagaol, and zingerone. It is the zingerone that reacts with the free radicals that can cause tissue damage and joint inflammation, and so helps to reduce the pain of arthritis.







Curcumin is the primary active compound in turmeric which is found in curry powders, as well as being used neat in curries. A recent study from the U.S. found that eating turmeric can slow down the build up of plaques on the brain - the main cause of Alzheimer's - by up to 50 per cent. Turmeric has also been found to help with digestion as well as guard against heart








It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.







White rice loses many of its healthy benefits in processing. However, it does contain phytic acid, which helps bind the mineral iron in the digestive system, letting the body absorb it easily. It is low in fat and an ideal muscle fuel.




These are more or less pure fat. They are deep fried and contain very little nutritional goodness. Although delicious, they are best avoided if you are trying to eat healthily or are watching your waistline.




Yoghurt is often used both as an Indian condiment in raita and also in the cooking itself. Providing fresh yoghurt is used in the raita, then it is a brilliant source of calcium and vitamin D. It is also beneficial for the intestinal tract, as well as for fighting bacteria in the stomach.


Naan                                                                                                                                                                                   bread

Naan bread in Indian restaurants is generally not very healthy. The white flour



used has had most of its nutrients stripped away and it has been drizzled with oil, so even a plain naan contains a staggering 300 calories.


Mango                                                                                                                                                                        chutney


Mangos contain high levels of vitamins, combat stomach acidity and are a good blood cleanser. But in chutney a great deal of sugar has been added and the processed mangos have lost many of their benefits




Onions contain an agent called diallyl sulfide, which prompts the body to make more of the cancer-fighting molecule glutathione-S-transferase. These are a family of enzymes that play an important role in the detoxification of harmful stomach bacteria.




Garlic has been found to have a wide range of health benefits, from protecting the heart by lowering cholesterol to helping to purify the blood. It also contains allicin, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, and it increases protection from stomach cancer by promoting the production of protective enzymes in the stomach.




Cumin contains phytochemicals - chemicals that are found in plants. Several phytochemicals, including that in cumin, have been found to block various hormone actions and metabolic pathways that are associated with the development of cancer and heart disease. The phytochemicals appear to work alone, as well as in combination with vitamins and other nutrients in food, to prevent cancer. The main anti-cancer agents in cumin are carevol and limonene. A study in Israel showed that the patients consuming high levels of cumin were less likely to develop prostate cancer.





Allspice, a berry-based spice used in a lot of Indian cooking, contains eugenol, an antioxidant that enhances the digestive enzyme trypsin and so helps aide digestion.




Capsicum is the main phytochemical found in red peppers. It works as an anti-



inflammatory, reduces cholesterol formation in the liver and is also used in topical preparations for arthritis relief, although eating it won't have the same effect.




Cardamon comes in seeds and is considered to be a strong antiseptic and antimicrobial spice by herbalists. It is also a mild aphrodisiac as well as helping to relieve flatulence.






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I did however find some good information on the healing properties of different spices and I’d like to share that and some of the info with you.






o     Cumin: Anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called ‘Thymoquinone’ that checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer.






Why curry is good for you


Friday, 25 May 2012


Story Source













Photo credit


Scientists have just identified a new reason why some curry dishes, made with spices humans have used for thousands of years, might be good for you.


New research at Oregon State University has discovered that curcumin, a compound found in the cooking spice turmeric, can cause a modest but measurable increase in levels of a protein that's known to be important in the "innate" immune system, helping to prevent infection in humans and other animals.


This cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP, is part of what helps our immune system fight off various bacteria, viruses or fungi even though they hadn't been encountered before.



Prior to this, it was known that CAMP levels were increased by vitamin D. Discovery of an alternative mechanism to influence or raise CAMP levels is of scientific interest and could open new research avenues in nutrition and pharmacology, scientists said.


Turmeric is a flavorful, orange-yellow spice and an important ingredient in many curries, commonly found in Indian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has also been used for 2,500 years as a medicinal compound in the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India – not to mention being part of some religious and wedding ceremonies. In India, turmeric is treated with reverence.


The newest findings were made by researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU and published today in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


"This research points to a new avenue for regulating CAMP gene expression," said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the Linus Pauling Institute. "It's interesting and somewhat surprising that curcumin can do that, and could provide another tool to develop medical therapies."


The impact of curcumin in this role is not nearly as potent as that of vitamin D, Gombart said, but could nonetheless have physiologic value. Curcumin has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


"Curcumin, as part of turmeric, is generally consumed in the diet at fairly low levels," Gombart said. "However, it's possible that sustained consumption over time may be healthy and help protect against infection, especially in the stomach and intestinal tract."


In this study, Chunxiao Guo, a graduate student, and Gombart looked at the potential of both curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids to increase expression of the CAMP gene. They found no particular value with the omega-3 fatty acids for this purpose, but curcumin did have a clear effect. It caused levels of CAMP to almost triple.


There has been intense scientific interest in the vitamin D receptor in recent years because of potential therapeutic benefits in treating infection, cancer, psoriasis and other diseases, the researchers noted in their report. An alternative way to



elicit a related biological response could be significant and merits additional research, they said.


The CAMP peptide is the only known antimicrobial peptide of its type in humans, researchers said. It appears to have the ability to kill a broad range of bacteria, including those that cause tuberculosis and protect against the development of sepsis.





Well then, is curry good for you?


Health Benefits of Spices and Other Curry Ingredients


The following compilation has been gleaned from various internet sources and I am not endorsing or disputing the following claims. I certainly do not encourage their usage in the treatment of any specific medical condition.


But, as ingredients of many curries, if the claims are true, 'bring the curries on'.






Asafoetida is an herbal medicine used to treat nervousness, bronchitis, and gas pain. In Middle Eastern and Indian herbal medicine asafoetida is most often used for digestive problems such as colic, wind, bloating, indigestion and constipation.




It also has numerous health benefits, such as...









































- Improves circulation to the lungs and thus considered good for asthma and



-                                                                                                                                                                         Antispasmodic


























- Cures halitosis (bad breath)


Cayenne Pepper


Cayenne pepper is one of nature's most healing and therapeutic foods. Capsaicin is the main ingredient of cayenne pepper and is used topically to treat everything from osteoarthritis to cancer. According to the University of Maryland, Native Americans have used cayenne (or red pepper) as both food and medicine for at least 9,000 years. The hot and spicy taste of cayenne pepper is primarily due to an ingredient known as capsaicin. Although it tastes hot, capsaicin actually stimulates a region of the brain that lowers body temperature. Taken internally or applied topically, capsaicin is a great natural healing remedy.




Chillis are loaded with vitamin A, a potent antioxidant and boost to the immune system. Due to the capsaicin levels, some believe that eating chillis may have an extra thermic affect, temporarily speeding up the metabolic rate, hence burning off calories at a faster rate. The alkaloids from the capsaicin stimulate the action of stomach and intestine improving the whole digestion process!


These same heat inducing properties have a cumulative effect and over time are believed to alleviate pain when used in transdermal treatments for arthritis, nerve disorders (neuralgia), shingles and severe burns ... even cluster headaches. The mucus thinning properties promote coughing and can act as an expectorant for asthmatic conditions. Other claims are boosts to the immune system due to the antioxidants, lowering cholesterol, and blood thinning properties beneficial for the heart and blood vessels.




Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. In a study published by researchers at the U.S.



Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukaemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.




  1. Protects against the Salmonella bacteria


  1. Reportedly works as a natural chelation treatment


  1. Aids in digestion and helps settle the stomach and prevent flatulence


  1. Is an anti-inflammatory that may alleviate symptoms of arthritis
  2. Protects against urinary tract infections
  3. Prevents nausea
  4. Relieves intestinal gas


  1. Lowers blood sugar
  2. Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL)
  3. A good source of dietary fibre
  4. A good source of iron


  1. A good source of magnesium


  1. Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids




  1. A compound in garlic called ajoene is a natural antioxidant that has anti-clotting abilities, thus helping in the prevention of heart disease and strokes.


  1. Ajoene has also been shown to stop the spread of skin cancer cells when applied topically.


  1. Compounds in garlic have been shown to prevent prostate cancer.


  1. Garlic may protect against colon cancer by protecting colon cells from toxins and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells if they do develop. The selenium and vitamin C found in garlic are also known to protect against colon cancer.


  1. Research suggests garlic may decrease the ability of H. pylori to cause ulcers and stomach cancer.



  1. Research has shown that cooking garlic with meat reduces carcinogenic chemicals in cooked meat that are believed to be linked to breast cancer in meat-eating women.


  1. The allicin in garlic has been shown in some studies to promote weight loss in rats.


  1. The allicin in garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure.
  2. Garlic has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
  3. It has been shown to reduce the carcinogenic effects of asbestos exposure.


  1. It fights free radicals.


  1. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain in the body, making it beneficial for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


  1. Cold and flu prevention: Because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties as well as its vitamin C content, garlic is a powerful agent against the common cold as well as the flu.


  1. It has been shown to fight the germs that cause tuberculosis.


  1. A component of garlic called diallyl disulfide has been shown to kill leukaemia cells.


  1. It is a good source of vitamin B6.


  1. It has been shown to be an effective anti-fungal agent for treating yeast infections, vaginitis, and athlete's foot.


  1. Garlic has been shown to protect rats from diabetes complications such as retinopathy, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and neuropathy.




It has a warming effect on the body and this is excellent for circulatory problems and it helps alleviate cold hands and feet. Ginger is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and hence its treatment for joints and connective tissues. Ginger contains an enzyme called zingibain and more than 12 antioxidants which help neutralise the highly reactive molecules called free radicals, which play a role in causing inflammation. People in Asian countries often take ginger for sore heads, seasickness, stomach upsets and vomiting. Ginger is very often taken before travelling. University of Michigan researchers announced at the American Association of Cancer Research that tests show ginger kills cancer cells. The study also found that the spice had the added benefit of stopping the cells from becoming resistant to treatment.




Onions and all the other members of the Allium family are thought to have some impact on high cholesterol and blood pressure.


Onions contain quercetin, a flavonoid (one category of antioxidant compounds). Antioxidants are compounds that help delay or slow the oxidative damage to cells and tissue of the body. Studies have indicated that quercetin helps to eliminate free radicals in the body, to inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation (an important reaction in the atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease), to protect and regenerate vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and to inactivate the harmful effects of chelate metal ions.


Other studies have shown that consumption of onions may be beneficial for reduced risk of certain diseases. Consumption of onions may prevent gastric ulcers by scavenging free radicals and by preventing growth of the ulcer-forming microorganism, Heliobacter pylori. University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found that the more pungent onions exhibit strong anti-platelet activity. Platelet aggregation is associated with atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.


Several studies have shown quercetin to have beneficial effects against many diseases and disorders including cataracts, cardiovascular disease as well as cancer of the breast, colon, ovarian, gastric, lung and bladder.


In addition, onions contain a variety of other naturally occurring chemicals known as organosulfur compounds that have been linked to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.




One study showed that eating just 1/10 an ounce of scallions per day cut men's risk of prostate cancer by as much as 70 percent.




Tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which has been shown in several studies to have a protective effect against prostate cancer. Though one recent study has created some doubt about the protective effect lycopene has against prostate cancer, the National Prostate Cancer



Foundation says the earlier studies are still valid and continues to recommend that men eat plenty of foods containing lycopene.




The latest study demonstrates that curry shrinks colon polyps. In the study, patients with pre-cancerous polyps in the colon who took a pill containing a combination of curcumin, which is found in the curry spice turmeric, and quercetin, an antioxidant found in onions, experienced a marked reduction in both the size and number of polyps. Investigators are finding that curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic (or anti-cancer) properties. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with potentially far-reaching health benefits. Based on human, animal, and cell studies, it may be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. All of these diseases share underlying inflammation that curcumin can diminish. Curry uses turmeric, obtained from the roots of Curcuma longa. Curcumin, consisting of several curcuminoids, is the active constituent of turmeric. Biologically, turmeric is related to ginger. A spicy ingredient of many curries may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, say researchers. A team from the University of California at Los Angeles believes that turmeric may play a role in slowing down the progression of the neurodegenerative disease.








Mint is carminative, stimulative, stomachic, diaphoretic and antispasmodic. Peppermint has the highest concentrations of menthol, while preparations of spearmint are often given to children. Mint is a general pick-me-up, good for colds, flu and fevers. Herbalists tell us it helps digestion, rheumatism, hiccups, stings, ear aches, flatulence and for throat and sinus ailments. There are also claims that a glass of crème de menthe helps with motion sickness.


New and going down a storm, 8 chilli rating, full of flavour probably the hottest natural chilli pickle in the UK, Ignore photo waiting for one! Comes in small 110g jar.



Indian food is one of my favorite ethnic cuisines, but is it healthy? Yes and no; it's all a matter of making healthy choices. Indian food can be deceiving. One would think anything vegetarian would be healthy, but this is not always the case. Take samosas for instances. Potatoes and peas normally a healthy choice that is until it is wrapped in pastry and deep fried.


A much healthier choice for a first course at an Indian restaurant would be mulligatawny soup. This hearty chicken, lentil and spice soup comes in around 230 calories per serving as opposed to a single samosa at 369 calories. The mulligatawny soup is also very filling so it is a perfect start to a meal.


Indian food from the north is generally higher in fat and calories then food from the South. The North prefers sauces and curries, many filled with hidden fat and calories. The Southern regions of Indian are partial to vegetarian dishes and lots of rice. Learn to recognize the dishes from the south and seek them out on the menu.


Northern Indians love their breads. Nan, roti, Gobi, the bread basket is hard to resist at an Indian restaurant. To save calories order the whole wheat tandoori roti and request it not be brushed with butter.


Tandoori cooking is pretty health overall. Look for menu items with Tandoori in the name. Tandoori chicken is a good choice, with chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt sauce, minus the skin, and baked in a tandoori oven with extremely high temperatures.


The paneers are another good choice. Paneer, Indian cottage type cheese is used in a variety of vegetarian dishes. I am partial to saag paneer, with spinach, looks awful tastes great. Or try Mutter Paneer, made with peas and spices. A serving of mutter paneer is 147 calories, with 13 carbs, 8.5 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.


Dals are another staple of Indian cuisine. They also pack a lot of nutrition and are low in calories. Depending upon how they are prepared servings of dal can run



between 50 to 300 calories. Use as a main course with a salad and a piece of whole wheat tandoori for a healthy low calorie, satisfying meal or as a side dish, either way dal is a good choice.


Basmati rice has such a great nutty flavor and at 150 calories per ¾ cup makes a good choice. Be carefully what curries or sauces are used on top or have the sauce on the side to eat more rice then sauce.


Vegetarian dishes are pretty safe unless as is the case with samosa. Vegetable Kofta Curry at 147 calories and Vegetable Korma at 88 calories are perfect examples.


Skip the high sugar high calorie desserts and choose a mango lassi. Made with yogurt and mangos this lassi comes in at 80 calories, and will satisfy ones sweet tooth.


Indian food can be deceiving, fill with hidden calories, but healthy choices can be made. It's a matter of doing ones homework and making the right choices.



By Chef, October 11, 2012, In Indian Cooking Glossary


Home » Indian Cooking Glossary » Papad







Papad is also known as Papadum. Papad is nothing but the thin Indian wafer, which can be refereed as a cracker or flat bread. Papad is generally made from dried lentils, it can be eaten fried or roasted. There are variety of papad flavors

available in the market, that are made to suit the requirement of each and every



The basic composition of the papad varies from a number of ingredients such as cereal flour, pulse flour, soya flour, spice mixes, chemical mixes and different vegetable juices for improving both organoleptic and nutritional characteristics.


Before making any papad, its dough is required to make. That dough contains salt and peanut oil and some flavors to make the special regional papad. Baking soda is also one of the main ingredient for making good papad. The dough is shaped into a thin, round flat bread and then dried (traditionally in the sun). Papad can be cooked by deep-frying, roasting over an open flame, toasting or microwaving.


In India, Papad has a vital place in every meal. It is highly served or accompanied either as a snack, chaat or with main course recipes. Papad is an example of the genius of Indian cuisine. Originally there are two types of Papad – North Indian papad and South Indian papad. They come into different sizes and textures such as mini papad, big papads, roasted papad, khakra and many more.


Papads of various brands are easily available in the market. One of the most famous market brand is Lijjat. You can get variety of tasty and flavorful Lijjat papads with different shapes and sizes. Always check that they are dry and not stuck with each other.




  1. Papad is a great accompaniment with drinks and mocktails, one of the best example is masala papad.


  1. Papads are typically served as an accompaniment with any meal in India.

  1. Papad can be eaten as a starter or snack dish.


  1. Fried, roasted, open-flame papad and oven-made papad are some of the best varieties of papad.


  1. A famous Rajasthani delicacy is papad curry or papad ki sabji, that is made from the papad only.


  1. Papad can be enjoyed with variety of pickles, chutneys and sauces.


  1. You can get papad of several flavors of your choice, such as Punjabi masala, urad dal, moong dal, asafoetida, black Pepper, green chilly, red chilly, cumin, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon, etc.


  1. Since the years, Papad has been used to serve with dal and rice, as it enhance the taste of the meal.


  1. You can munch the Papad as a great snack dish.


  1. Papad can be served with soup or with the main meal. 11. Papad is often crushed and sprinkled on the rice.


  1. A traditional Indian thali, platter, marriage buffets, parties, etc always includes papad in their menu.


  1. You can crush the raw papads for coating the kebabs and tikkis.


  1. Papad is used for making several Gujarati subzis like Methi- Papad nu shaak, Ghatia- papad nu shaak, etc.




  1. Papad should be stored in air tight container.


  1. It can be stored for 10-12 months.


  1. Sometimes keep them under fresh air and sun light for few minutes for preserving even more better.


  1. Although storage can be done, but it is advisable to buy limited stock or small packets of papad and use them as per your requirement.




  1. Papad is a good appetizer and a source for digestive.


  1. Roasted or grilled papad helps to absorb the fatty material from the mouth and throat.


  1. Papad should be eaten in moderate proportion, else it can become the reason of acidity.

  1. Papad is very high in sodium, hence not advisable for hypertensive people.


1.5. Papads are made of lentils, hence are free from gluten, rich in protein and dietary fiber.