Eating home-cooked food is a good way to maintain a healthy diet. However, sometimes without realising, we add certain ingredients to our meals that can make them less healthy. Here are five ingredients that are commonly used in Indian cooking that could be increasing your cholesterol without you even knowing.
1. Butter and ghee: Many Indian dishes use ghee instead of oil to fry the spices and add extra flavour to the food. Ghee and butter are also added later to the food to temper it and give it a more appetising aroma. In small quantities these dairy products don’t have a big effect on cholesterol. But when they are had regularly over time it could cause a build up of bad cholesterol.
2. Cream: Cream is used in many savoury dishes to thicken and add taste to gravies. It is also used liberally in Indian sweets with every state having a few types of cream-based sweets. No doubt, cream makes all these foods and sweets delicious but when eaten in large quantities it can raise cholesterol considerably. Cream can also add to other dietary fats that can cause weight gain.
3. Whole fat curd: Most of the curd bought in packs from the shop use toned milk and are low-fat. However, many Indian households still prefer to make curd at home and might use whole fat milk for the process. The curd made this way is thicker, creamier, and very tasty. It is often eaten plain, as an accompaniment with a meal, or even as an ingredient in dishes. If not eaten in moderation, whole fat curd can cause a rise in cholesterol levels.
4. Coconut and coconut milk: Another ingredient used often in cooking, especially in coastal parts of the country, is coconut. Grated coconut and coconut milk add another layer of flavour to the food and go very well with seafood curries that are relished with rice. In many cultures, coconut oil is used in cooking. As delicious as coconut is, it is high in cholesterol. Coconut water on the other hand has zero cholesterol.
5. Sugar: Sugar is used both in sweet and savoury dishes and can be consumed in excess if not careful. While sugar is not often associated with cholesterol, excess sugar gets converted by the liver to triglycerides which increases the bad cholesterol in the body. It can also lower the good cholesterol levels, which makes using it in excess as an ingredient even less desirable.
Eating home-cooked food is a good way to maintain your cholesterol levels and eat healthier. But it is also important to keep an eye on the ingredients used when cooking at home, so that you don’t add too much of something that can affect your health. Eat the foods you like in moderation and add more fruits and veggies to your meal to make it more wholesome and to keep your cholesterol in check.