How healthy are South Indian foods?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

Thank you for the A2A.

Malayali here. And I’ll base my answer exclusively on foods we take on a regular basis in Kerala.

Kerala cuisine is one of the healthiest of all Indian cuisines, thanks to extensive use of steam cooking as opposed to deep frying and the choice of coconut oil over any other kind of oil. We also use very small quantities of butter/ghee as compared to several other Indian cuisines.

Our staple food is rice and its derivatives. And it is a point to be noted that we do not use white rice for daily consumption. What we use is the parboiled Matta rice which is a variety of brown rice. It is a well-known fact that parboiled brown rice is often suggested to people looking to lose weight. You could read more about the benefits of matta rice here → Top 10 Health Benefits Of Matta Rice

Most of our traditional breakfast items are steamed – puttu, idli, idiyappam, aappam – or made with minimal oil – dosha, upma.

One of the main ingredients in most of our dishes is coconut. If you do a random search for health benefits of coconut, you’d see what a phenomenal fruit this is. And Kerala is the land of coconuts! ^_^

If you look at a traditional Kerala lunch, it might look like just a colorful array of 21 different items. The reality is that each item is there for a purpose. Preparing a sadya is almost like a ritual for the traditional cooks known as dehannakkaar. They observe certain customs and traditions very strictly.

In our own little kitchens, these customs are observed on a much smaller scale.

And there is a way of eating a sadya or traditional feast, as in this follows that followed by that. Why there is even a specific place on the banana leaf where certain dishes should be served! The dishes are in such a way that the meal is wholesome, filling, nutritious, and even aids in digestion.

And did you know that the banana leaf itself has nutritious properties? When warm food is placed on the leaf, the leaf gets mildly cooked and the nutritious properties of the leaf get into the food too 🙂 Read this article to know more → Scientific reasons behind Why banana leaf is used as plate in India?

We use a lot of spices in our cooking, and turmeric, curry leaves and chili form the unavoidable trio. Turmeric is well known for its medicinal properties, particularly for being an anti-cancer agent. As per an article on the internet…

Packed with carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, irons and vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, curry leaves help your heart function better, fights infections and can enliven your hair and skin with vitality.

And here are the benefits of green chili → 12 Unbelievable Health Benefits of Green Chillies: Zero Calories, But Packed With Vitamins

And then we consume a large quantity of all sorts of tubers – yam (kaachil), elephant yam (chena), tapioca(kappa), potato, sweet potato(madhura kizhangu), Chinese potato (koorkka) – and tubers are a known source of protein.

Even our traditional sweets are payasams which don’t have the sinful levels of calories as is found in many other Indian desserts.

I could go on and on! Although I have always been a big advocate about the nutritional benefits of food from my home state, coming across this article was the last straw → kerala diet plan for weight loss (1200 calories)

LOL! ‘Nuff said!!

How healthy are South Indian foods?


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