Nutrition chart including calories of Indian foods are given. Also the ways to preserve nutrition in Indian cooking are discussed.
The Indian food is liked throughout the world because of its taste, texture and the benefit it offers. The traditional Indian food offers many benefits as it contains vegetables and wholegrains, but only if cooked in a healthy oil like olive or canola or vegetable oil and in a healthy manner.
Facts On Indian Food
Many Indians are vegetarians and the main food they eat are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and plant-based proteins. These foods contain essential micro-nutrients and vitamins that produce antioxidants which are good for heart, blood pressure and diabetes. But Indians, in general, consume less amount of vegetables. "Indians, therefore, face heart attacks five years earlier than people in the West," according to Dr Deepak Natarajan of Apollo hospital, Delhi.
India carries 60 percent of the world's heart disease burden, nearly four times more than its share of the global population, according to a study released by Denis Xavier of St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore in April 2008.
The rate of Alzheimer's disease in India is about four times lower than in the USA which is attributed to the use of spices. Many spices used in Indian cooking protect against cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Spices are also good for boosting metabolism of the body.
The Indian foods are rich in whole grains including lentils, legumes and dried beans such as kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed beans, etc. Whole grains are good sources of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals; and low in fat and are heart friendly. Whole grains may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, and cancers of the stomach and mouth.
The Indian bread is made of whole wheat flour as opposed to the American people who eat generally bread made up of white flour.
The South Indians eat special dishes like idlis and dosa (idli sambhar recipe that use fermented lentils and rice. All of these are very nutritious and healthy.
Indian Cooking & Nutrition
Calories in Indian foods and their nutrition depend on the way the foods are cooked.
An Indian dish may be very high in calories or energy (mostly from fat) if it is cooked by deep frying. The Indian food may be low in calories or fat if it is stir fried or baked.
The rich creamy Indian dishes containing foods covered with lot of spice colored liquid are often very high in fat (mostly saturated fat and trans-fat), while the tandoori dishes are low in fat.
The research conducted by "Which" magazine (Feb 2010) of Britain found that a single meal of Indian curry in Britain had more fat than the recommendation for the entire day, an average Indian takeaway contained 23.2 g of saturated fat, 3.2 g more than a woman should eat in a day. Indian takeaway meals are known for their liberal use of ghee and oil, not only in curries but also on breads. The researchers found that an Indian naan contained more calories than a chicken tikka masala!
Indian often reheat the food - the reheating destroys the nutrients of the food.
Indian food is often overcooked, destroying its nutrition.
The North Indian dishes are very rich in taste and presentation as compared to South Indian food. The North Indian foods, specially Punjabi food are generally higher in calories and fat and lower in nutritional value, than South Indian food because Punjabi cooking involves tarka or vaghar (frying of spices, onions, etc.) in pure ghee (high in saturated fat), butter, oil or trans fats (hydrogenated oils and fats, vanaspati) that gives unique Indian taste and texture.
The tandoori foods of North India are rich in natural flavours, but often these are loaded with fats. A research reported at a conference on "Fats and trans-fatty acids in Indian diet" at the Seventh Health Writers Workshop organised by Health Essayists and Authors League (HEAL) in 2007 found that while the trans-fatty acids in French fries is 4.2 - 6.1%, it is 9.5% in bhatura, 7.8% in paratha and 7.6% each in puri and tikkis.
How to Preserve Nutrition in Indian Cooking?
The health benefits of the Indian food depend on the method of cooking. The tips for preserving the nutritive value of Indian food are given below:
If a recipe calls for too much cream, ghee or oil and crushed cashews, then the dish will be very rich in taste and texture, but without any nutritional value. The north Indian food, Punjabi food and the foods available in restaurants are cooked (rather over-cooked) like this and they are higher in fat and lower in nutritional value. These foods are generally prepared with deep frying onions, ginger, and spices in lot of oil or ghee.
Instead of deep frying, you can stir-fry or saute them in very little vegetable oil. The over-cooked foods lose their nutrition because, in the process, the vitamins and minerals are leached out. You should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp.
Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etcfor cooking, these are not healthy. Many restaurants and shops use trans-fats for cooking tikkis, bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and even sweets and vegetable curries
Do not chop the vegetbles into too small pieces. The vegetable will lose its nutrients if it has more exposed surfaces to the atmosphere.
Always chop the vegetables only when you cook them, do not chop and leave them for a long time.
Do not wash the vegetables like spinach, zucchini, lauki, etc. after chopping to preserve their nutrients.
When you stir-fry, do not overheat the oil.
If you make pakoras, keep the besan batter thick. Deep frying of thin batter pakoras absorb too much oil during frying.
Do not add ghee or oil for making the dough of poori, otherwise the pooris will absorb too much oil during frying.
However, it is possible to have low calorie recipes that produce tasty dishes with very less fat and keeping the natural nutrition values.
Somes of the dishes available in restaurants are unhealthy because they contain too much ghee, butter, cream and sugar. So one should eat them in moderation or be avoided. The following list gives the calorie content (kcal or Cal) in one serving. The values are approximate and depends on the amount of butter or ghee used in preparing it.
Chicken korma curry, 800-870 Cal.
Butter chicken, 490 Cal per serving.
Chicken curry, appprox. 580 Cal
Chicken madras curry, 450 Cal
Chicken tikka masala, 440-560
Tandoori chicken, 265-300 Cal for one leg of chicken.
Lamb rogan josh, 600 Cal
Lamb kheema, 500-560 Cal
Pav bhaji, 600 Cal
Chhole bhature, approximately 450 Cal
Pilau rice, Biryani, Kabuli, 450 Cal
Paneer bhurji, 400 Cal
Halwa, approximately 550 Cal
Jalebi, 460 Cal
Nutrition Data of Homemade Indian Food
indian Food calorie Chart
The table below lists the nutrition data (total fat, carbohydrates, calories, and proteins of Indian foods.
The table contains the data for indian home made vegetables (vegetable curries), dals (dhals), rice, snacks like samosa, idli, milk products, roti/bread/chapatti, and parantha In the following table "-" means that data are not available.
Use the table as a general guide only, as the values depend on the recipe used for preparing the dish. The fat and the calorie values are particularly dependent on the way of cooking. If you add too much fat in a dish, then these values will increase.
A single samosa (samosa recipe) contains more than 350 calories, of which 160 calories (i.e. more than 40% of total calories) come from fat because of deep frying. If you eat a baked samosa instead, you will be saving theses 160 calories.
Give Your Comments: You can add your comments on this article.
Comments to date: 12. Page 1 of 1.
Brenda, IP: 220.127.116.11 5:30pm on Monday, June 13th, 2016
This site is GREAT ... I just got on and can't wait to explore all the possibilities of eating better. I want to feel and look leaner. I do believe a diet based on the diet of the people in India just might be what I've been looking for. It is cleaner that the usual American diet. I just need to find out more about: Curry .. ha-ha : ) Wish me luck, I will let you know. Thanks for the site!
shruti sekhar, IP: 18.104.22.168 10:35pm on Thursday, December 17th, 2015
how does one estimate the vitamin content in cooked food ? Could show us that data too ?
DR. JAGMOHAN MATHUR, IP: 22.214.171.124 3:13am on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
No other book or literature gives nutritional values of Indian food.
dhanjay, IP: 126.96.36.199 3:18am on Monday, March 30th, 2015
good info i am 93 kgs at 180 cm need to loose 10 kgs in 05 months pls suggest me a diet plan non veg and veg
prateek dhalawat, IP: 188.8.131.52 6:35am on Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Thanks for Info on Indian foods it will really help us to be aware and have healthy food and i think we should eat organic food for better health.
psvvanantalakshmi, IP: 184.108.40.206 6:07am on Friday, May 16th, 2014
very useful and important matter for good health.
RAJ TELKAR, IP: 220.127.116.11 6:08am on Sunday, January 26th, 2014
I am 45 years with sound physique & having 80 kgs wt. I want to reduce wt upto 10 kgs in 2 months please suggest suitable diet.
ZEESHAN, IP: 18.104.22.168 12:09am on Friday, August 2nd, 2013
VERY HELP FULL OF WEIGHT LOSS.
Pradeep, IP: 22.214.171.124 1:59am on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Awesome detailed information. Thanks.
I am pure veggie, do not consume even milk and its products. Advice also same to others.
Mary dasu, IP: 126.96.36.199 3:26pm on Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Wow! incredible info on Indian food. Very helpful tips. Thanks.
Prabhleen, IP: 188.8.131.52 4:37pm on Saturday, October 13th, 2012
wow!!! these ideas are very helpful.
mangai sivasailam, IP: 184.108.40.206 2:57pm on Friday, October 5th, 2012
Even fried foods are good for health provided used with fresh oil and not reusing it again for making any other foods.