Enhancing Nutrition in North Indian Diets


The George Institute for Global Health India, in partnership with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, recently conducted a research study that sheds light on the eating habits prevalent in the northern states of India.

The study has uncovered some crucial insights into the dietary patterns of people residing in these states. The study found that people in these states tend to consume excessive amounts of salt and phosphorus, while needing more protein and potassium.

This is a cause for concern because it can lead to a range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

The lead author emphasized the importance of understanding the nutrient composition of regional diets to address the rising burden of NCDs in India. He also noted that the findings suggest that people in the northern states of India need to adjust their dietary habits to improve their health and well-being.

Here we will delve into some practical strategies to enrich the nutritional quality of North Indian diets. This will include recommendations for reducing salt and phosphorus intake, increasing protein and potassium consumption, and making healthier food choices in general.

Our goal is to promote better health and wellbeing among people in the northern states of India, by providing them with the information and tools they need to make positive changes to their diets.

Eat More Grains and Pulses

North Indian food has a wide range of grains and pulses that can help improve your nutrition. Including different grains like barley, millet, and quinoa, along with traditional ones like wheat and rice, can increase the amount of fibre, vitamins, and minerals in your meals.

Adding a variety of pulses like lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans can boost the protein content as well as provide important micronutrients like iron and zinc. For example adding a variety of lentils like masoor dal, urad dal, and chana dal to your diet can provide a range of important micronutrients.

Optimize Vegetable Cooking Methods

Most Indian cooking relies heavily on vegetables, but their nutritional value and diversity are often underestimated. To boost the intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you can add variety to your vegetable choices. Some options include spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

Vegetables retain their nutrients best when cooked using healthier methods such as steaming, stir-frying, or grilling. By adopting these cooking techniques, you can ensure maximal nutrient retention and maintain the nutritional value of your vegetables.

Protein Selection and Portion Control

Many people in North India don’t get enough protein in their diets. For example, a typical North Indian meal may consist of rice, chapati, and vegetables, but it may not include enough protein. It’s important to include high-quality protein sources in our meals.

We can choose between animal-based proteins like lean meats, eggs, and dairy products, and plant-based alternatives such as tofu and legumes. It’s also important to eat the right amount of protein. For example, an average serving of protein is the size of a palm. This helps our bodies use nutrients better and keeps our muscles healthy.

Use of Herbs and Spices

Did you know that adding herbs and spices to your meals not only makes them taste and smell better but also provides a lot of health benefits? For instance, including powerful spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger in your diet can not only enhance the flavor of your food but also confer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Similarly, incorporating herbs such as coriander, mint, and curry leaves can aid in digestion and metabolic health, elevating the nutritional value of your meals and promoting overall well-being.

Whole Foods Over Processed Options

In order to stay healthy, it’s important to focus on eating whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This includes things like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts. These foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre that are important for our overall health.

On the other hand, processed foods that are high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and additives offer little nutritional value and can lead to health problems over time. By consciously choosing whole foods over processed ones, we can keep our bodies healthy and prevent chronic diseases. Some examples of whole foods include brown rice, quinoa, apples, spinach, and almonds.

Beverage Selection

It’s important to keep yourself hydrated for good health, but the drinks you choose can have a big impact on your nutrition. While traditional drinks like buttermilk and lemon water provide hydration and nutrients, sugary sodas and artificial drinks should be consumed in moderation due to their high sugar and calorie content. Instead, you can opt for refreshing alternatives like herbal teas, coconut water, and infused water that can replenish fluids and promote optimal hydration and nutrient intake.

You need to make an effort to improve your eating habits in North India based on recent research about your diets. By choosing a variety of foods, focusing on nutrient-rich ingredients, and eating mindfully, you can use traditional Indian cuisine to promote good health and prevent diseases like diabetes.

Once you’ve built a healthy diet, it is also advised to maintain the same eating habits during getaways. For instance, if you’re planning on sticking to your routine of savoring North Indian food in Goa, make sure you visit the top restaurants that fulfil your dietary restrictions. So, let’s explore the many flavors of North India and create healthy eating habits that will help you feel your best.