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Republic Day 2018: Healthy Indian eating habits we need to relearn

Indian eating habits

Before the trend of packaged, diet and exotic food began, people in India relied on eating fresh, local produce and seasonal foods including fruits, vegetables and flour. However, with changing times, our eating habits changed too. What was considered enriching and healthy earlier is no longer on one’s diet plan. It has been replaced with something less natural and artificially enhanced with nutrients and not so Indian in nature. This Republic Day, we look back at a few Indian diet habits that need to be brought back to life for their innumerable health benefits.

Adding ghee to meals

Ghee, which was often eaten by our parents and grandparents, is today shunned by the ‘health-conscious’ crowd as an unhealthy ingredient which adds calories and fat to your body. However, this isn’t true. Ghee has a host of health benefits and when eaten in moderation, is actually good for your system. According to nutritionist Neha Chandna, ‘Ghee is good for the nerves and brain. It has a good ratio of omega 6: omega 3 fatty acids which is ideal for overall health.’ She advises us to restrict it to two spoonfuls a day for optimum health. Here are some more benefits of eating ghee. 

Eating pickles

Just thinking about pickles stimulates our salivary glands and we are instantly reminded of its sweet and spicy taste. In earlier days, pickle was a part and parcel of the Indian diet but of late, it is considered a trap of oil and salt which is bad for health. While it is true that these things are used to prolong its shelf life, pickles are not all bad. A healthy person can eat a teaspoon of pickle every day. Pick a mixed vegetable one to get more nutrients. Read more on eating pickles here.

Drinking cow milk

A glass of cow’s milk was given to kids as well as adults for instant energy and to keep their bones strong. Over time, its health benefits got diluted and people started opting for skim and low-fat milk and milk products. Though these are lower in calories, they are also lower in the natural benefits that cow milk offers. Dietician Rujuta Diwekar says in her column in Outlook, ‘Cow’s hump naturally equips her to pump more Vitamin D in her milk. The milk is also rich in antioxidants, Vitamin B12, amino acids (building blocks of protein), good carbs and essential fatty acid.’

Adding tadka

Tadka or tempering is a cooking process followed by Indians for ages but it lost its sheen on its way due to the usage of oil or ghee. You will find many people shunning this practice and opting for bland, boring dals every day. The truth is, tadka is not just added for flavour, it increases the nutrient value of the dish as well. The spices used enhance flavour and have various health benefits like aiding digestion, medicinal properties, etc. Here’s how you can add a tadka to your dishes. 

Eating subzi and dal with rice or chapatti

These days, many Indians exclude rice or chapatti from their diet to avoid eating excess carbs. They believe that eating just a bowl of dal or subzi is healthier than teaming them with rice or roti as was the norm. Explains Rujuta in her Indian Food Wisdom series that roti or rice are more than just carbs. They are rich in amino acids, minerals, phytonutrients, fibre, etc. Our food combination of rice-dal or roti-subzi makes up for each other’s nutritional limitations and makes protein accessible to the body more easily. Eating a wholesome, nourishing meal is what is best for our health. 

Image source: Getty Images

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