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Nutrition also called nourishment or aliment is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary in the form of food to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet. The diet of an organism is what it eats, and is largely determined by the perceived palatability of foods. Dietitians are health professionals who specialize in human nutrition, meal planning, economics, and preparation. They are trained to provide safe, evidence-based dietary advice and management to individuals (in health and disease), as well as to institutions. A poor diet can have an injurious impact on health, causing deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beriberi, and kwashiorkor; health-threatening conditions like obesity and metabolic syndrome, and such common chronic systemic diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Let us read our awareness in this matter.

We all should eat foods with nutrients and every body should know why nutrition is important for your health. It is a good idea to know all the nutrition facts of the foods you buy. Make a habit of reading the nutrition food labels on the product to know the nutrition facts of the product. The Indian food should be generally good in nutrition as the Indian dishes contain vegetables and whole grains (nutrition of pulses, lentils, legumes), but may contain too much calories if not cooked properly. Nutrition data (calories, carbohydrates, protein) of homemade Indian food are given. Also the ways to preserve nutrition in Indian cooking are discussed. Many Indian are vegetarians and they eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and plant-based proteins. These foods contain essential micronutrients and vitamins that produce antioxidants, which are good for heart, blood pressure and diabetes. But Indians, in general, consume less quantity of vegetables. Also reheating of vegetarian dishes, a common practice among Indians destroys the micronutrients. Indians, therefore, face heart attacks five years earlier than people in the Western. Calories in Indian foods and their nutrition depend on the way the foods are cooked. An Indian dish may be very high in calories/energy (mostly from fat) if it is cooked by deep-frying, or it may be low in calories or fat if it is stir-fried or baked. The rich creamy 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. 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 foods because Punjabi cooking involves tarka or vaghar (frying of spices, onions, etc.) in pure ghee (high in saturated fat), butter, oil or trans fats or trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated oils and fats, dalda) that gives unique Indian taste and texture. Read more on trans fats in Indian foods. The tandoori foods of North India are rich in nutrition and natural flavors, but often these are loaded with fats. The health benefits of the Indian food depend on the method of cooking. If a recipe calls for too much cream, yogurt, ghee or oil and crushed cashews, then the dish will be very rich in taste and texture, but with out 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. Read more on Indian food nutrition and calories. Instead of deep-frying, any body 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. We should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp. Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etc. for 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 vegetables 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 traditional Indian cooking recipes that produce tasty dishes with very less fat and keeping the natural nutrition values and low calories.

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