Any fan of Indian food appreciates the flavors of a zesty, expertly spiced curry. Along with the pleasure comes a hidden dividend: health benefits. This recipe, a comfort-food favorite from northern India, is full of seasonings thought to boost well-being according to the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, whose principles have shaped the country's cooking over thousands of years. (Another plus: It's low in fat.)
Spice up your life
Western scientists are beginning to assess the health benefits of these spices, many of which have long been key preventive foods in Ayurveda. Some of the most promising:
Cardamom, cumin, fennel. All might aid in digestion (candied fennel is eaten after meals in India for just that reason).
Cinnamon. May help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
Garlic. Contains potent antioxidants that may help prevent stomach cancer; may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Ginger. A powerful digestive aid that calms nausea; may inhibit formation of blood clots and reduce inflammation.
Turmeric. May reduce inflammation associated with arthritis; may protect against certain cancers and even Alzheimer's.