By Claudette D'Cruz
Poor curry – perhaps due to being so delicious, curry has garnered a reputation for being unhealthy and fattening, an indulgence rather than a daily habit.
Of course a curry can be unhealthy if it contains lashings of cream or sugar, if meats are fried and lots of oily things are added to the blend, but cook carefully with the No Worries Curries recipe cards and spice blends and there is no reason for your curry to be anything but nutritious and delicious!
Even better than that, many of the ingredients found in most curries are bursting with health-boosting goodies that can make an impact on your overall health. Here are just some of the ingredients lurking in your evening meal that are delivering more than just gorgeous flavours:
Research has shown that the spicy chilli does more than set your mouth on fire – that compound within the chilli that makes it burn (capsaicin) is proven to kill pancreatic and lung cancer cells without damaging the surrounding cells. It is no coincidence that people living in Mexico and India – where they eat spicy food regularly – have lower rates of some cancers! Even for those cancer-free, the benefits continue: chilli can reduce cholesterol and boost metabolism, leaving a feeling of fullness which can prevent over-eating and thus help with weight loss.
It may deliver a powerful aroma that lingers longer than you want, but garlic also leaves behind goodness in the body that make it worth enjoying. Garlic is packed with nutrients but very low in calories as well as coming loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent dementia and slow the ageing process. Not enough incentive for you? Garlic can also reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and give the immune system a boost to help protect against illness.
The Chinese and Indian medical practitioners of thousands of years ago were wise to the many benefits of ginger, and as science catches up we can now prove that this distinct root is great for all sorts of things: combating nausea, menstrual pain and indigestion, reducing cholesterol and throwing some serious antioxidants at arthritis (good for you, bad for arthritis). There is also some suggestion that ginger can lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Bring it on!
Raw or cooked, caramalised or roasted until sweet – however you eat the mighty onion it will deliver a fine package of health benefits. Onions can help reduce inflammation, boost immunity, increase bone density, regulate blood sugar and help prevent cancer. Did I mention it's antibacterial too?
This eye-catching spice is brilliant in hue and brilliant for the body thanks to it's primary ingredient: curcumin. You may not have heard the name, but you'll welcome its properties: curcumin can increase lifespan, kill fungus and cancer cells, and works wonders for skin and brain health. It is also known to be good for chronic inflammation and pain, depression and diabetes among other health complaints.
Whatever you chose to make your curry with in the protein department – chickpeas, paneer, chicken, lamb, fish, beef – you will still be filling your body with vital nutrition to keep all systems working to their peak. Your body needs protein for repairing tissue and cells, as well as making enzymes, hormones and other key chemicals. Protein helps build muscle and is good for your bones, plus it's super filling, preventing over-eating and helping those struggling with weight loss.
And these are just a few of the many many ingredients that go into each and every curry – just think of the whole package of nutrients hiding within your dinner! Tuck in guilt-free and spread the word to ensure curry is given the respect it deserves, both for its flavour, variety and nutritional benefits. It really is a wonder meal!