By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The mouth-watering south Indian sambar has several
anti-oxidant properties which prevent the
growth of cancerous cells in the body.
The special ingredients that go into the preparation of this south Indian
patented dish help in easy digestion, provide
the much-needed energy and boost the immune system. They are also
anti-carcinogenic in nature and prevent the
development of cancer.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in association with the
Public Health Foundation of India, has
launched a campaign to promote traditional Indian foods as part of its
"healthy India" programme. The campaign
highlights the importance of south Indian sambar in the over all diet
balance of an individual and prevention of a
variety of diseases including carcinomas.
"Vegetables that are incorporated in dal preparations like sambar increase
the glycemic index of food and provide a
variety of nutrients and anti-oxidants. This also ensures that a number of
vegetables get consumed everyday, as
sambar is an essential food item consumed by most households," the MoHFW
points out in its campaign.
Drumsticks, onions, garlic, asafoetida, bhendi, brinjal and bottle gourd
are essential ingredients of sambar and each
of them have their own medicinal and anti-oxidant properties.
Any item that increases the glycemic index of food keeps the body healthy
and strong and free from diseases or
major health complications. A balanced glycemic index means control over
diabetes, weight and blood lipids and
improved body sensitivity to insulin and fast re-fuel of carbohydrate
stores after exercise. Sambar is the ideal kitchen
preparation to maintain the glycemic index of food.
Since sambar is prepared with less oil, it does not give much calories to
the body. Consumption of sambar and
traditional chutneys prepared from special spices provide additional
health benefits by virtue of micronutrients, anti-
oxidants and vitamins present in them in sufficiently large quantities.
"Healthy eating habits and increased physical activity alone can reduce
the risk of developing diabetes by 58 per
cent, high blood pressure by 66 per cent and heart attacks and stroke by
40-60 per cent," it points out.