Articles on indian breads

Why South Indians Swear by Curd Rice

Ms. Nisha Singh, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The fire-extinguisherFreshly made curd is loaded with good bacteria that help your body absorb more nutrients and aid digestion. Curd helps you digest spicy food without the burning sensation. No wonder you were given curd rice to eat whenever you had a stomach upset as a kid! The edible cosmeticCurd makes for the most delicious midnight snack or a diet breakfast. Treat it like an alternative to junk food and have it with fruits or cornflakes. Curd’s low calorie count keeps your metabolism healthy and keeps you feeling full for long. It also has anti-aging and slimming properties. Now isn’t that a double bonus?The Versatile HeroFresh curd is bland in taste making it the most versatile base for sweet or savoury dishes. So whether you are making paneer or cucumber raita, make sure you add a dollop of curd.Beat the heat this summer with sweet lassi or salty chaas!The Bone BuilderCurd has one of the largest quantities of calcium and vitamin D amongst vegetarian foods. So if you want to keep your bones strong even after you’re on the other side of thirty,having curd daily is a must.  The Coolest Side DishEver wondered why we Indians consume curd with fried or greasy food like aloo parathas, jalebis and murrukus? The reason behind this is that curd helps the body to clear the greasy food down your throat and reduces the effect of cholesterol-increasing foods on your body.Having curd however is not always beneficial for all*. If you have Asthma, or respiratory problems,you must avoid having chilled curd. If you have acidity issues then make sure the curd is fresh and not sour.Now does it surprise you to know why a typical South Indian meal is incomplete without ‘curd rice’? Keep in mind these hidden benefits and begin your journey towards fitness with that spoonful of creamy goodness!*Consult your dietician to know how much curd you can include in your diet based on your health.

Maida (White Flour) – Is It Really Good for Our Health?

Ms. Silky Mahajan, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We must have always heard that Maida (White flour) and products made from it are very harmful for our health. However, use of Maida & its products usage is increasing rapidly in our day-to-day life. Sometimes, we are consuming it in form of bread at our home and sometimes, in the market/food joints in form of fast foods.Known as ‘White poison’, white flour is becoming necessity for all of us but it impacts our health drastically. It is very important to understand why it is bad and how much it can harm us so that we can improve our eating habits.What is missing in Maida (White Flour):During processing of Maida from wheat, endosperm of the wheat is removed from the germ (wheat germ) and the bran (wheat bran), which is very crucial for digestion. As all necessary nutrients are lost during processing of Maida, foods made from it utilize nutrients from the body for absorption. As a result, our body gets depleted of vitamins and minerals.  Few manufacturers attract customers by labeling their products as ‘enriched flour’, which is nothing, but adding 3-4 vitamins at the cost of 10 lost vitamins during processing.White flour is tasty but not healthy:Though foods made from Maida like Pizza, Burger, Donuts, Bread, Samosas, Noodles, Momos, Panipuri, Pastas etc are very tempting and tasty however, at the same time, consequences can not be ignored.White flour regulates glucose/sugar in your body:Whenever you consume foods that are made from Maida,it releases sugar into your bloodstream quickly. Because of high Glycemic index (GI) of Maida, it spikes up your sugar levels. To match up with the sugar spike, Pancreas has to over work to release insulin in sufficient quantity. If Maida consumption is once in a while then Pancreas can manage it however, in case of frequent consumption, insulin production will reduce gradually, finally making you Diabetic.As glucose loiters into your blood, it gets attached to proteins, which is called Glycation which cause inflammation in the body and leads to many diseases like Arthritis, Cataract, heart diseases and the list goes on.Eating Maida also raises bad cholesterol (LDL) resulting many health issues like weight gain, high blood pressure, mood swings. Too much consumption of white flour & its products leads to weight gain and you will soon progress toward obesity. Also, it keeps you feel hungry and makes you crave for sweets.White Flour is Acidic:Acidity is another problem. During refining process, all nutrients are removed and it becomes acidic in nature. As per research, diet high in acidic foods (e.g. Pizza, Pasta, Burger & other white flour products) forces the body to pull calcium from bones to keep the things even, which affects bone density. Over-acidity is one of the major causes of chronic inflammation, and a major cause of arthritis and other chronic illnesses.White flour creates digestive issues:White flour has been called the “glue of the gut”. In today’s world, so much food is made from White flour: breakfast food, snacks, pasta, bread, cereal and the list just continues. And it all turns to glue in the intestines. It is without fiber, it congests the system, slows down digestion creating a sluggish metabolism, and can often be the cause of weight gain, stress, headaches and migraines.Follow these alternatives:For better health in longer run, you should completely avoid consuming White flour & foods made from it. Instead, you can use some alternatives like – for Samosa, use wheat flour. For Naan, mix one portion of Millets (like Jowar&Bajra) flour with wheat flour. Opt Bread, Noodles, Pasta and Macaroni made of wheat flour, which are easily available in food stores.In case of any query or to book an appointment with Dt. Silky Mahajan please send us a mail at info@foodsandnutrition.in

What's in My Bread?

Ms. Tehzeeb, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Bread; one of the most widely consumed food in the world dates back to atleast 30,000 years. In fact, the first bread was made in Europe from grain-paste, roasted and ground cereal grains and water. Since then, with the help of technology and science, there have been a lot of improvements in texture, taste, content and various other aspects of bread.However, as we may know already at this point, with the good comes the bad and so it is very important that we understand what the different varieties of bread (even the ‘healthy’ ones) are composed of and what’s precisely in them. Thus, a quick and dirty summary for you below:General rules of thumb:Fewer the ingredients, better the breadFaster the expiry, better the breadFresher the bread (a bakery which makes a fresh batch daily), better the nutrient availabilityFewer preservatives and/or words you don’t recognize in the ingredient list, better the breadIndividual summary of some common breads as below:White bread  Made from refined wheat flour=more processed.Does not contain bran and germ=less fiber.Multigrain breadContains several different types of grains and seeds. However, this does not necessarily make it healthy/nutrient-richRead the fine print (the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list) and make sure those grains are WHOLE grains and that the bread has at least 3 grams of fiberper slice. Be smart here and don’t get duped by smart marketing strategies Brown breadBrown in appearance does not mean that it is made with whole wheat. Again, it is important for you to check the ingredients and the nutritional value of the bread before you purchase itAuthentic brown bread should indicate that it is manufactured withwhole grainNot a good bread if you see the words ‘enriched flour’, ‘hydrogenated oil’or ‘caramel’ Whole-wheat breadAgain, read the label to make sure it’s made from whole grainManufacturer’s will label a bread “wheat” but may only use part of the grain to make the bread. Look for the words“100% whole wheat”in the ingredient listAlso check the fiber content (at least 3 grams per slice)Conclusively, be vigilent, attentive and read the ingredient list before purchasing anything. Also, note that absolutely NOTHING can beat our preservative-free, fresh, nutrient-rich, lovely, hot, homemade rotis, chapatis, parathas and phulkas. Three ingredients to use in the making but a copious array of micronutrients and ample love straight from the kitchen onto your plate. Now that’s what’s missing in your bread.

Is Indian Food Healthy

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Most Indians believe that Indian food is among the healthiest cuisines in the world. No doubt, that it can be healthy, but is all Indian food healthy? To see what is healthy in Indian cuisine, and what is not, read on..The Good:– Indian food by its nature incorporates a lot of vegetables as ingredients for cooking. This is great, since vegetables are a rich source of nutrition.– Talking about cooking, Indian food uses a large amount of spices. And spices are just loaded with healthy goodness, like antioxidants. For example, turmeric has so many health benefits, that its almost considered a wonder drug.– Dairy products are commonly used in Indian food- be it yoghurt, milk, etc. Besides being a rich calcium source, foods like yoghurt promote probiotic bacteria in the gut, which helps manage and improve digestion, overall health, and immunity levels. The Bad:– Even though we use a lot of vegetables, and spices, very often, Indian food tends to cook veggies so much, that it leeches most of the nutritional content during the cooking process. Just heating itself can reduce some vitamins from food, along with water content. So, cooking them & processing them for a long time further reduces nutritional value– Besides cooking a lot, Indian cooking, specially cooking for celebratory functions incorporates a lot of fried food, or just food cooked in a lot of oil. Cooking in a lot of oil, besides significantly increasing the calorie value of food, it also increases the bad cholesterol content, and is bad for heart health. Did you know, that Indians have higher risk heart diseases, than Americans or Europeans.– Besides the oil and the overcooking, Indian food has culturally become very focused on the consumption of grains, wheat, rice, etc. We mean, that the total intake of food is measured by the amount of roti, paratha, or rice consumed, rather than the vegetables, lentils, etc. Most of the nutrition comes from other sources than grains, so why not focus on those.– The use of refined flour (maida) is becoming more common. Refined flour has a high glycemic index, and its consumption in any form (like white bread, samosas, etc), increases the glycemic load in your body, making your body store fat, and putting you at risk of diabetes. Indians are naturally more prone to diabetes than others.– Similar to the use of refined flour, sugar usage & consumption has significantly increased. This is more of a global trend, but because of our genetic tendency towards diabetes & that India is projected to be the diabetes capital by 2050, we really should be watching out. Use whole grain flour to increase nutritive value.Note, that these are general trends, and not all of these may apply in your case, so in case they do, please take action and let’s eat & promote healthy Indian food.If you have any points on how to make Indian food healthier, do share with us, in the comments.

Are Idli and Dosa Healthy?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Idli and dosa are probably the most popular South Indian dishes. But how healthy are they? Idli: Idli is a steamed cake made from fermented batter of rice and black lentils. It is made in a specialized mold and served with different types of chutney made from tomato, tamarind, coconut and Sambhar, which is made by adding vegetable to red gram dal. Each plain idli has approximately 39 calories, 2 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams carbohydrates and no fat. Dosa: Dosa is a kind of a flat pancake made from fermented batter of rice and black lentils. It is made on a hot griddle (tava) greased with oil. It is also served with different types of chutney made from tomato, tamarind, coconut and sambhar, which is made by adding vegetable to red gram dal. Each plain dosa contains approximately 120 calories, 2 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber, 17 grams carbohydrates and 3 grams fat. Idli and Dosa are not unhealthy, but the problem is that no one restricts themselves to 1 or 2 servings. People tend to overeat idlis and dosas. Also, different varieties like masala dosa, butter idlis, fried idlis, etc are higher in calories because of higher oil content and overeating will obviously pile up the calories. They are served with different varieties of chutney, some of which are high in calories like coconut chutney. I piece of coconut (approximately 45 grams) contains 159 calories and 15 grams of fat. However there are nutritional benefits of coconut and you need to keep a check on the amount you are consuming to minimize calorie intake.

Healthy South Indian Snacks

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
South Indian foods are known for their simple preparation methods and high nutritional value. These foods are usually made from simple and healthy ingredients. A lot of rice and lentil is involved in the preparation of these dishes and we already know that rice and lentils are super healthy foods. The flavouring includes but is not limited to coconut and curry leaves which leave a tantalizing taste in our palates. The cooking methods involved are more towards the healthy side as they usually use steaming, sautéing, stewing or pan-grilling for most of their preparations. A recent study conducted by the researchers of college of home science, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai have found that out of the four metro cities, Chennai was found to be the most nutritionally balanced when it comes to traditional breakfast habits.The thing to be wary of when watching calories is the addition of coconut in the form of oil, milk or grated plain coconut, adding ghee, peanuts or using deep-fried preparation methods can increase the fat content and overall calories of the dishes.Now, let’s look at some of the healthy south Indian snack foods and analyse their nutritional facts.1.Idli These are steamed cakes made from seasoned rice-lentil batter. As these are steamed, and the overall use of oil is minimal, they are low on calories and high on nutrition. It packs a good blend of carbohydrates and proteins. Adding sprouts or vegetables to batter can increase the nutritional value. Avoid coconut chutney; instead have mint or tomato chutney. These are perfect for breakfast with sambar or as an evening snack with chutney.- 1 medium Idli has 39 calories, 2 gm protein, 8 gm fiber, zero saturated fat and zero cholesterol.2.Upma It is one of the common and staple breakfast options. It is made by dry roasting semolina and cooking with sautéed vegetables. It is light on the bowel and is quite filling as well. Semolina is a refined grain but adding vegetables adds fiber and makes it a wholesome meal. - 1 cup home-made vegetable upma contains about 280 calories, 11 gm protein, 59 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fat, and zero cholesterol.3.Adai This is a popular south Indian snack. Batter is made with rice and a mix of 2-3 whole pulses with vegetables, curry leaves and spices. This mixture is then cooked on a non-stick pan just like pancakes. Nutritionally it serves as a balanced source of carbohydrates, proteins and fiber. - 1 medium Adai pancake has 165 calories, 2.5 gm fat, 15 gm carbohydrates and 1 gm protein.4.Rasam It is a light, moderately spicy soup prepared by making a base of tomato, tamarind pulp, black pepper, spices and adding steamed vegetables and lentils as per choice. It is best for winters and monsoons and is also beneficial in cold, cough and fever. It is good for bowel health and aids in digestion. This can also be consumed with steamed rice as a spicy curry. - 1 cup of Rasam can contain 45-60 calories, 2-3gms fat, 4-6gms carbohydrates, and 1-2 gms protein depending upon the vegetables or lentils added.5.Sundal This is an easy to prepare, healthy and nutritious snack. The dish is prepared by lightly sautéing pre-boiled legumes with green chilies, mustard seeds, and coriander in 1 tsp oil. Grated coconut is also a part of this preparation, which is high in calories, so, it is advisable to skip the same to keep the calorific value to a healthy range. Sundal is a good source of soluble fiber and lean protein. It is a filling snack and can be included as a mid-afternoon or evening meal. - 1 cup of chickpea sundal contains 280 calories with 4gms fat, 49gms carbohydrates and 15gms protein.

Is Eating Papad Making Your Body Unhealthy?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We are well aware of the flavour and munch that papad brings to our daily plate of boring food. The satisfaction of eating the same old dal-rice doubles up when accompanied with papad. It’s not just the crunch or the wafer like texture or the extra flavour; it is all combined into one. Papads are extremely popular equally in the northern and southern parts of India. So we think it is safe to say that the unified Indian palate relishes the taste of papad and when given a choice they will always go for papad than not.The ingredients usually used to prepare different kinds of papads range from rice, flour, lentils, potatoes, chickpeas or black gram and various spices, salt and peanut oil. All of the ingredients are ground together and the dough is made into flat circular breads which then is left out to dry in the sun. This dish is rich in protein and fiber. This dish is then either fried in oil or dry roasted. While when looked broadly at the ingredients they seem good for health but when you observe closely you will find that it is something definitely not meant for uncontrolled consumptionHere are 6 reasons why you should watch how many papads you chomp down with your meal.1. Papad is a hidden source of salt / sodiumOne of the main ingredients of the dough of papad is salt. It is used in medium quantities to make the papad tastier and it acts as a preservative as well. Indian food is usually known for the copious amount of salt and spices that are added to it. Now when you consume more salt than required by the body from the combination of the salt in our staple food and the salt in papad we end up with a high level of salt in our blood. Salt is basically sodium and such high content of sodium causes high blood pressure, water retention, abdominal bloating, increased thirst, diabetes etc.Read more about tips to reduce bloating and water retention.2. Spicy papads are not goodSome papads have a variety of spices added to them in varying quantities ranging from medium to very high. Having spices in general is not bad for health but like all other things, when consumed in excess can be bad for health and since most people consume multiple papads in one sitting, it can cause acidity and other digestive problems.Get more information on health benefits of indian spices.3. Papad causes constipationIf the papads are consumed in excess, the dough of papad once in the stomach may stick to the intestinal lining and cause constipation or gastric issues.Read and follow these home remedies for constipation.4. Quality of oil used in papad / Fried PapadUsually when papads are fried repeatedly using the same oil, the reused oil becomes rich in trans-fat or if the quality of the oil to begin with is not good then it can have other adverse effects on your health. More often than not most of the papads available in the market are prepared in low quality oil with little to no quality control. This may increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the body causing heart problem, diabetes etc. 5. Unhygienic preparation methods of papadsPapads need to be left out in the open for drying and they might be kept on dirty and unhygienic surfaces, leading to further chances of infection for the consumer. 6. All dry roasted papads are not very healthy.A recent study shows that when papads are dry roasted, fried or microwave roasted, acrylamide is formed due to the presence of sodium benzoate. Acrylamide is a probable carcinogen. Studies show that the formation of acrylamide is more in case the papads are roasted and the least when they are microwave roasted. Hence, try and opt for microwave roasted over flame roasted.All of these reasons might seem intimidating in the beginning, but if you truly care about your body you need to be careful about what you ingest. Papads are harmless little tasty snacks but only when chosen mindfully. The right choice in the type of papad along with how it is prepared can make a world of difference when your health is in question.

Must Read: Basic Dos and Don'ts of Healthy Eating

Ms. Ankita Gupta Sehgal, Dietitian/Nutritionist
When it comes to dieting, lose those extra kilos; the single most effective way to lose weight and maintain health is by making quick lasting lifestyle changes. Clean eating is a lifestyle that puts the boot to processed, packaged foods dripping with salt, sodium, and unpronounceable ingredients.It focuses instead on natural, nutrient-packed foods that let your body run the way it’s supposed to. Change how you look and feel with our clean eating tips:Should have frequent and small meals.Have at least 2-3 litres of water a day.Have at least 7 hours of sleep daily.Limit the intake of sweetened drinks like colas,  juices, etcVegetables - all seasonal vegetables are allowed except arbi. Fruits - all fruits except mango and chiku are allowed. Oil – Not more than 3-4 Tbsp of oil (including ghee) in a day.Do not add extra salt in salads, curd, fruit salad. Avoid papad.Always use low fat milk and its products.Any form of physical activity like walking, jogging, dancing, yoga etc for atleast 40 mins for days a week is highly recommended. Choose multigrain / wheat bread Limit your sugar intake to not more than 2 tsp a day. Jeera , methi and dhaniya water : soak 1/2 tsp of each in a glass of water overnight. Boil The water in the morning , strain let it cool and drink. Bran Roti is half atta and half wheat bran. Misi Roti is half atta and half besanTry this at home and leave your feedback in the comments section below. Don't forget to subscribe to our Facebook Page or Instagram Handle, we have some awesome tips for you there. n

How Healthy Is Your ‘Roti’?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The Indian bread or Roti has been a staple in Indian diet since olden times. It also goes by the names of chapati and phulka. However, difference in names does not change its nutritious properties.How is it made?The roti is primarily made up of whole wheat. It is typically made by kneading wheat flour with water into a soft dough, which is then rolled and roasted on a flat pan or griddle.Plain rotis are quite healthy with a long list of health benefits.It has soluble fibre to help clean plaque from blood vessels and prevent constipationDigests easilyHas plenty of complex carbohydrates to give sustained energyAnd plenty of proteins to help build and maintain muscleHas almost no fat (till you smother it with ghee or butter!)Doesn’t make your blood sugar shoot up and then crashRoti is also a rich source of vitamin (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9), iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium etc.Vitamin E, soluble fibre and selenium in rotis help reduce the risk of cancerLow in calories (only about 70 calories without oil or ghee)Normally rotis are made from wheat flour but those allergic to gluten can opt for bajra rotis. Bajra contains fibre, complex carbohydrate protein and low fat, making it a healthy alternative to wheat.Having said that, not all rotis are healthy, especially those made from maida. Maida is refined flour and has the same effect on the body as sugar – fattening. However, another option for healthy roti is chickpea flour. Normal chickpea flour can be made tastier and healthier by adding chopped cooked vegetables to the dough – like spinach, carrot, etc.Interesting factRoti is a common term used for bread in many countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. But they’re not the same rotis. In Thailand, roti is actually a pancake made from wheat flour (maida), fried and loaded with goodies like fruits, honey, condensed milk etc.