About 20-30 years ago, India did not face the complexities of diabetes, cholesterol, heart attacks, and strokes. The reason is our traditional India diet. Although India is a vast country where every region has a different staple diet, overall, our traditional foods are much healthier than our modern day counterparts.
Let’s observe our traditional food from the North first. States like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana are more wheat eating regions. Roti, naan and parathas are the carbohydrate giving groups. But as they are made of whole wheat flour they also give a lot of fibre, vitamin B, D, E, and K, magnesium, manganese, selenium. Along with these they eat legumes like rajma, chole, or others which are protein sources along with fibre and other minerals. Or naans are combined with meat based koftas or kormas- again protein sources. Locally grown vegetables and fruits were consumed along with the meal. Breakfast normally consists of parathas and milk or lassi! Major oil used is mustard oil which is a good source of PUFA and has a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6.
Eastern states like Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam have rice and fish specialities! Rice is a carbohydrate source and fish an excellent protein source and supplies abundant omega -3 fatty acids.
In the west, people in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are majorly vegetarians but consume a lot of milk products for their protein. Wheat and rice are available in lesser quantities and hence, corn, gram, bajra and jowar are used as cereals. Peanuts grow in abundance and are major source of proteins, thiamine, and oil. Maharashtra has both northern and southern influences and hence they consume both wheat and rice besides ragi, jowar and other millets. Fish is consumed in coastal areas so is coconut.
Down south, rice is the major cereal consumed and major source of carbohydrates and hence less of polished rice is used. Parboiled rice is consumed more as it is a better source of protein, vitamins and essential fats. Coconut is a major product and hence a major source of protein and oil. Coconut oil has more MUFA and medium chain fatty acids which do not lead to clogging of arteries unlike saturated fats used in our modern day diet.
Various spices are used based on the old proven principles of Ayurveda. These have very varying health benefits.
If followed closely, along with the principle of eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, this diet is very close to the recommended food pyramid. If you follow the traditional Indian food habits and its staple diet, a little exercise---no lifestyle disease will follow you!
Tags : Women, indian thali, diet. food