You don’t have to acquire a taste for olive oil, seaweed or soya to maintain a low-fat, healthy diet. Indian cuisine can be healthy too, if it’s cooked with oil and ingredients that take care of your heart and health. Ayurveda suggests you include all tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent — in at least one meal each day, to help balance unnatural cravings. Here are 12 foods/ingredients that can help you lose weight and gain health:
Turmeric: Curcumin, which is the active component of turmeric, is now an object of research thanks to its properties that suggest they may help to turn off certain genes that cause scarring and enlargement of the heart. Regular intake of curcumin may also help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, increase blood circulation and prevent blood clotting thereby helping to prevent heart attack.
Cardamom: The Indian spice is known as a thermogenic herb, one that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. In Ayurveda, cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently.
Chillies: Foods containing chillies are considered to be as foods that burn fat. Chillies contain capsaicin that helps in increasing the metabolism. Capsaicin is a thermogenic food, so it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chillies.
Curry leaves: Incorporating curry leaves into your daily diet can also help with your weight loss plan. These leaves are known to flush out fat and toxins, thereby reducing fat deposits that are stored in the body, as well as reducing bad cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, incorporate eight to 10 curry leaves into your diet daily. Chop them finely and mix them into a drink, or sprinkle them over a meal.
Garlic: One of the most effective fat-burning foods, garlic contains the sulphur compound allicin which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats.
Mustard oil: The pungent-tasting oil has low saturated fat as compared to other cooking oils. It basically consists of fatty acid, oleic acid, erucic acid and linoleic acid. It has antioxidant and cholesterol-reducing properties and is good for the heart. It is also loaded with essential vitamins.
Cabbage: Raw or cooked cabbage inhibits the conversion of sugar and other carbohydrates into fat. Hence, it is of great value in weight reduction.
Moong dal: The bean sprouts contain rich quantities of Vitamin A, B, C and E and are an excellent source of many minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium. The dal is recommended as a food replacement in many slimming programs, as it has a very low fat content. It is a rich source of protein and fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol level. The high fiber content yields complex carbohydrates, which aid digestion, are effective in stabilizing blood sugar and prevent its rapid rise after meal consumption.
Honey: It is a home remedy for obesity. Honey mobilizes the extra deposited fat in the body allowing it to be utilized as energy for normal functions. One should start with about 10 grams or a tablespoon, taken with hot water early in the morning.
Buttermilk: Leave cola, drink buttermilk. The traditional homemade buttermilk is the somewhat sour, residual fluid that is left after butter is churned. The prebiotic food contains just 2.2 grams of fat and about 99 calories, as compared to whole milk that contains 8.9 grams fat and 157 calories. Regular intake of buttermilk provides the body with all essential nutrients and does not add many fats and calories to the body. It is thus helpful in weight loss.
Millets: Fiber-rich foods such as millets — jowar, bajra, ragi, etc., absorb cholesterol and help increase the secretion of the bile that emulsifies fats.
Cinnamon and cloves: Used extensively in Indian cooking, the spices have been found to improve the function of insulin and to lower glucose, total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in people with type-2 diabetes.