I have the greatest privilege of being associated with Native cultures of many continents.. thus satisfying my curiosity and desire to travel and the chance to help them with my medical expertise. these notes are from those travels. I am a professor at the University of Havana
dimanche 23 novembre 2014
SPICING UP YOUR HEALTH: BRING ON THE MASALA
MOGULS GOT IT RIGHT
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE A BIT
BRING ON THE ROGAN JOSH
OR CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
On a recent visit to
Miami, my good friend and I shared a North Indian meal, of which Rogan Josh was
the star. This dish, which is of Persian Origin, brought to Indian by the Mogul
emperors, has become a staple of the Western Indian Restaurants mostly owned
and cooked by Bangladeshis. The Kashmiris when they cook this dish, they use a
less spicy pimiento rather than the strong chillies to the south. (Think of the
goan dish Beef Vindaloo)
Zaatar is a mainstay of
the Israeli condiment and I was introduced to that on a visit to Haifa many
years ago by my Israeli family, who sprinkled it on just about everything and I
must say, a mixture of olive oil and zaatar to dip your pita in was certainly
I am partial to a good
Massaman Curry and a few years ago a Laotian refugee and his family opened a
Thai Restaurant near one of the Indian Reservations, and I am always grateful
that I could have at least one good meal on each of my visits to the Midwestern
So the health aspects of
these condiments, the additional heath aspects I should say, since you have to
be eating good food or nutritionally cognizant, had always interested me. I can’t
imagine McDo selling a Massaman Curry Hamburger and a Zaatar French Fries!
A recent article
published in Nutrition Today was of interest. Some researchers, who had been
trying leech out the health benefits of herbs and spices, took six men, all of
them overweight between 35 and 60 and gave them a control meal and then in
their second experiment gave them a similar meal but heavily doused with herbs
They reasoned that a
high fat meat diet would increase Triglycerides and an increased risk for heart
disease, would they find a difference if that same meal was given with a
concoction of spices?
. If a high-antioxidant spice blend is incorporated
into the meal, triglyceride levels may be reduced by as much as 30 percent when
compared to eating an identical meal without the spice blend. The spiced meal
included garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric,
ginger and black pepper.
And their small study showed that the
Insulin levels do not rise as much, impressive enough and more impressive was
the 13% increase in anti oxidant activity after the spicy meal.
Cinnamon from the above list has had some
press, since it seems to help people with Diabetes, even though their effects
on non-diabetic persons are not clear. Garlic comes with mixed reviews, and
certainly others in the spicy melange above, especially turmeric, ginger have
had good press, following research showing their benefits.
Rogan Josh might have paprika, cloves and
turmeric and our beloved Zaatar in Israel is Oregano, I say this because I was
given some organic homegrown Zaatar from Algeria that was mainly Thyme.
So for Lunch, I prepared Basmati with
coconut oil, with hot sauce interspersed in it, with a good amount of Zaatar.
The chicken was prepared in Thai sauce that contained coconut and paprika
It tasted delicious, and for the coming one
month, with the exception of five days in the midwestern food desert, I will
have plenty of antioxidant raising, spicy, herb filled meals.