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How Traditional Foods of South Asia Help Prevent Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer

by Raj R. Patel

Pub Date: June 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1461122135
Publisher: CreateSpace

Can a healthy Indian diet help prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer?

The answer is yes, according to Patel, a medical doctor passionate about the power of diet to ward off and even reverse the negative and all-too-common effects of the modern diet. Citing the most recent scholarly research as well as studies dating back to the 19th century, Patel makes a clear case for Indians, who are genetically disposed to heart disease and diabetes, and non-Indians alike to switch from a diet of processed foods high in fat and sugar to one low in meat consumption and high in vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Whereas the deservedly touted Mediterranean diet offers an acknowledged road map for healthy eating, the traditional Indian diet is, Patel claims, an equally good alternative with the added benefit of being heavy in spices, which have been proven to have curative powers; for example, the compound curcumin in turmeric, a spice common in Indian cooking, has been shown to have cancer-fighting abilities. This book, however, is not meant to be merely a treatise on medical and food science; it’s also meant to be a practical manual. To that end, Patel offers advice on how to make a healthy Indian diet an everyday reality and, to get readers into the kitchen, Balasubramanian and Jannu of contributed more than 30 flavorful recipes for vegetarian, meat and grain-based dishes as well as chutneys, pickles, spice blends and yogurt. Although this book is useful to anyone interested in healthy eating and Indian cooking, the recipes are not geared toward the beginning Indian cook. Many use ingredients or spice blends—such as curry leaves, dried fenugreek leaves and Chana Masala—that will require a trip to an Indian market and, in some cases, ingredients mentioned in the method do not appear in the ingredients list, making a general familiarity with Indian cooking a help to “sleuth out” what Balasubramanian and Jannu intended.

An enthused, accessible argument for and explanation of the benefits of eating a healthy Indian diet, complete with recipes for the seasoned Indian cook.