My Top 5 “Asian” Ingredients.
Being a Bengali (from Bangladesh), there is nothing that I love more than some down-home cooking! But being an exercise physiologist and a personal trainer, I know that eating abundant amounts of rice and curry can have a negative effect on your waistline, especially if you’re not watching your portions! Here are some select spices that are commonly used in Indian dishes that I love to add to my healthy meals to give them that Asian Kick… this way I don’t have to sacrifice flavor when opting for a healthier version. PLUS these top 5 ingredients have incredible health benefits! Check out what they do for you:
[singlepic id=131 w=320 h=240 float=]Cinnamon Stick: Not to mention its warm fragrance and sweet taste, this spice has many health benefits including blood sugar control, boosting brain function, and has anti-clotting and anti-microbial actions.
[singlepic id=133 w=320 h=240 float=]Bay Leaf: This is like aromatherapy for any cook in the kitchen! For the best health benefits from this leaf, use it FRESH and you will find that it is rich in folic acid, and vitamins A and C. Remember Vitamins A and C are natural anti-oxidants and play a major role in thwarting off free radicals.
[singlepic id=132 w=275 h=240 float=]Clove: Now this little sucker packs a punch in flavor AND aroma. Cloves are not only high in multiple minerals (iron, sodium, calcium to name a few) AND anti-oxidants (vitamins C, K, and A), but they have some serious healing power; they have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anesthetic, and anti-bacterial effects. If you ever have to get your wisdom teeth taken out, pop a clove back there and that pain will disappear in NO TIME!
[singlepic id=130 w=300 h=240 float=]Cardamom: This delicate spice is used in not only food dishes, but drinks as well. It is a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
[singlepic id=134 w=320 h=240 float=]Turmeric: My absolute FAVORITE ingredient. Not only can it make your dishes bright and colorful, but it has a distinct flavor to it, as well. It is the KING of anti-inflammatory agents and can be a natural treatment to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. And my favorite of all reasons: it can assist with fat metabolism and help with weight management. So don’t be shy… put it in your food or just slather it all over your body!!!
[singlepic id=135 w=320 h=240 float=left]Shabnam Islam Parasiliti is a personal trainer in Los Angeles, CA and is also a contributing writer to national publications like Muscle and Fitness Hers magazine and PTontheNet. She is currently a graduate student pursuing her Masters in Exercise Physiology at Cal State University Northridge and will graduate in the Spring of 2013.