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India is more than just curry: it could be a huge factor in balancing immune health and life

Posted Oct 14 2009 10:03pm

I’m listening right now to Madhu Gadia being interviewed on public radio. She is an Indian cuisine expert, nutritionist YogaAyurveda1 (Univ. of Illinois) and author who touts the benefits of vegan diets, nutrition as medicine and is even a diabetes counselor. She edited books for Meredith Corp. (publisher of Better Homes and Gardens) and knows her stuff.

She talks about flavors and spices in Indian food as a key reason why many people enjoy Indian cooking. I can’t argue with that. I’m all over cumin, tumeric, curry, ginger and other seasoning used in Indian recipes (although I can’t stand cilantro…whoever thought that was edible ought to be arrested). These spices have a lot of compelling research behind them that support a multitude of health benefits. Tumeric and the curcumin component contained within, for example, has been shown to act in several ways as an anti-inflammatory and may also play a role in mitigating certain cancer risks. Ginger is another spice that does more than just make for great Christmas cookies.

Couple these Indian cooking essentials with other India-originated cultural practices– Ayurvedic medicine, yoga–and you have a total health approach based on balance. The India cuisine methods strive for balance in taste, nutrition and health benefits. Yoga and Ayurveda are founded on the concept of balance and integration of mind, spirit and body. The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has produced some serious content examining Ayurveda and guides consumers toward seeking more information and qualified practitioners if they are interested in Ayurvedic treatment.

One caution NCCAM does list: 20 percent of herbal supplements promoted as Ayurvedic-associated products sold on the Web contained heavy metals, most above the standardized safe limits. So, as with any supplement decision, one must do some due dilligence to ensure a safe, high-quality, high-purity product is being purchased.

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