The many health benefits of tasty Thai ingredients
Many people would agree that Thai cuisine is one of the best in the world because it pleases every taste on the palate and also has amazing health benefits. Many of the common ingredients found in Thai food have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been linked to fighting disease and improving immune system function. These ingredients also contain plenty of nutrients that contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. Many Thai dishes are also low in fat and carbs, so if you’re looking for low-fat low-carb recipes, consider Thai dishes with these extremely healthy ingredients.
That spicy kick in Thai food comes from chilies—hot peppers that are added fresh, in dried flakes, or in powder form. Chilies have protective health benefits since they contain various antioxidants, including high amounts of vitamin C and carotenoids—which are converted to vitamin A. Carotenoids are responsible for the bright color of chilies and have been linked to deactivating free radicals in plants and cancer-fighting properties in humans. Carotenoids also promote immune system function and cardiovascular health and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Many Thai dishes have sweet and creamy coconut milk as the main liquid base. Not only is coconut milk delicious, but it is a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk for vegans and those with lactose intolerance. Coconut milk has many health benefits including:
- Good—unsaturated—fats that reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and risk for heart disease;
- Increases immune system function;
- Moderates metabolic functions; and,
- Contains high amounts of fiber, vitamin C, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, iron, calcium, selenium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Thai food regularly uses fresh coriander—AKA cilantro—and coriander seeds. Fresh coriander is highly nutritious, full of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both fresh coriander and coriander seeds can contribute to the treatment and alleviation of the following health issues:
- Digestion issues;
- Gastrointestinal discomfort;
- Bacterial and fungal infections;
- Poor appetite;
- Skin problems;
- High cholesterol (LDL);
- Mouth ulcers;
- Bad breath; and
- Salmonella (food poisoning).
Galangal is a spice regularly used in Thai food and is relative to ginger root. Like ginger, galangal relieves nausea and indigestion. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine use galangal to treat other health problems as well, including:
- Abdominal pain;
- Motion sickness;
- Poor blood circulation;
- Stomach inflammation; and,
- The hiccups.
Lemongrass is an herb that smells and tastes deliciously like lemon. It adds to the fresh flavors of Thai food, and has also been used in Traditional Chinese medicine to treat:
- Colds and flus;
- Fungal conditions;
- Abdominal pain;
- Stomach problems; and,
Turmeric is a spice and a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that prevents toxins and free radicals from damaging cells. Turmeric is an excellent spice to have in your diet since it helps treat:
- Poor circulation;
- Cardiovascular conditions;
- Bacterial infections; and,
- Skin and breast cancers (in animal studies).
These ingredients that are commonly used in Thai dishes are very good for you, promoting health and nutrition while tasting amazing. If you want to reap all these benefits and more, consider Thai cuisine as part of a healthy and delicious low-fat diet.