Curries have a reputation for being bad for your health, there is a pre-conception that curries come with excessive amounts of oil and creams that will make consuming them every day bad for your health.
However that is untrue, in fact the spices contained in many curries are good for your health and you will find many places actually use less oil than you are led to believe, unless of course you are referring to takeout curries in which case it’s best to assume all takeouts are bad including the calorific McDonald burger which is deceptively small but nutritionally awful.
If you are making a curry at home, I would suggest using water instead of oil, besides making the onions brown it serves no real purpose in making a curry. Also, fresh ingredients are best.
We explore what actually makes curries good for you.
The basic ingredients that go into a curry are onions, tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, chillis.
Onions are packed with nutrients with high dosage of Vitamin C which helps with tissue repair, collagen production and helps to boost the immune system. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant.
Onions are also rich in B vitamins which are key in metabolism, red blood cell production and nerve function. They are also high in potassium.
Good source of several vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, potassium which is beneficial for blood pressure control and heart disease, Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting and Folate (Vitamin B9) which is important for normal tissue growth and cell function.
This has been trending as must eat in recent years and if you were eating your curries then you had been eating them for years. The spice which gives the curries a yellow colour uses has a compound called curcuminoids which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties.
These days turmeric is added to lattes among many other products.
Another great substance hailed for its antioxidant properties which help you feel healthier and more energetic and helps the skin look good. Some studies claim cumin also has anticancer properties and have the ability to stop cancer cells multiplying.
The leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and protein. Among many other benefits, coriander lowers bas cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) and is very good for liver function and bowel movements.
Another great spice which belongs to Zingiberaceae family, and is closely related to turmeric, cardamom and galangal. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and if you have ever suffered from nausea then ginger is a wonderful treatment.
Rich in Vitamin C, B6 and manganese with properties which can boost the function of immune system and can reduce LDL cholesterol. It has antioxidants which can protect against cell damage and some claim it may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Garlic has many other great properties such as helping to detoxify metals in the body.
The one thing most people (myself included) do not like about curries is the chillies but they can actually be good for you.
The substance called capsaicin which gives it the strong taste is currently being studied as a treatment for sensory nerve fibre disorders. This may include pain with diabetic neuropathy, psoriasis and arthritis.
Chillies can also clear congestion, boost immunity with its high content of beta-carotene and Vitamin A and can even help to lose weight. All the heat you feel after eating hot chilli peppers takes energy and calories to produce
If cooked right, curries are not as bad for your health as many claim and have a range of nutritional benefits, including but not limited to the ones in this article. So next time you pass up a home cooked curry from your health conscious friend, think again.
Obviously don't go crazy with consuming all the spices just for their benefits, it is all about moderation. Too little won't do enough and too much may do more harm than good.