My grandmother’s thali is incomplete without home-made chutney and aachar. And that is the secret of her well-being. Even at 75, she walks for 5 kilometers a day, has no wrinkles. And also, she has never spent a day lying in the bed.
She firmly believes that our ancient Indian food and practices are the ideal way to solve the health problems we – the processed and packaged food generation – face. And looking at her health, I couldn’t agree more!
Indian food is rich in variety owing to its cultural diversity. Whether its spices or side dishes, every constituent of traditional Indian cooking brings along a bevy of health benefits. And today we are going to explore the magic and goodness that lies within them.
Imagine bhelpuri without chutney or dosa without coconut chutney. Isn’t it like an aloo paratha minus the ghee/butter?
Chutneys, like spices, up the taste and health quotient of meals. So, it’s time to get back the chutney on your plate.
- The ‘fat’ coconut chutney is brimming with the goodness of medium chain triglycerides. This boosts your metabolism. And interestingly, the fat in coconut helps an ideal way to reduce the glycaemic index of food. And the acidic effect of the fermented dosa and idli.
- The green chutney – made of coriander and mint – is an excellent way to eat your greens and get your quota of Vitamin A, fibre, and antioxidants. Garlic and ginger, which add the zing to green chutney, boost your heart health, metabolism and relieve joint pains and stress.
- Similarly, the meethi chutney – made of dates and jaggery – is your home remedy to anaemia and low energy levels. The potassium and calcium-rich dates maintain a healthy nervous system, strong bones, and lower blood pressure.
Chutneys are a much healthier alternative to commercially available ketchups. As they are laced with sugar, chemicals, and preservatives. So, kick the tomato sauce out and get the humble chutney back on your plate.
Aachar – it’s got the perfect zing to make even the most unappealing dishes taste ambrosial. And nutritionally speaking, it’s one of the tastiest ways to excellent health.
Pickles burst with the magic of super ingredients – fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and hing. These ingredients combat digestive disorders, constipation and bloating in particular.
What’s more, the fermented pickles encourage the growth of healthy bacteria, which boost our digestive system and build our immunity against diseases. Also, since we don’t cook pickles like vegetables, the antioxidant content remains intact. Eating homemade pickles is a smart way to get your quota of vitamin C, A, K, folic acid, and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. However, if you are suffering from blood pressure, it’s best to keep pickle consumption to a minimum given the high sodium content.
Incorporating these delicious side dishes is a much smarter way to stay fit than drinking bland soups, eating khichdi or stir-fried veggies!
So, it’s time to emulate the eating habits of our grandparents and get back those lip-smacking traditional foods that pack a double dose of nutrition and taste. Don’t you agree?
Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.