It is a known fact around the world that Thai food is one of the healthiest cuisines. Out of the many Thai dishes out there, the famous Tom Yum soup is under scientific scrutiny to gauge the health benefits that one can get from it. The taste and health benefits in Thai cooking are derived from the variety of fresh vegetables, and most importantly, the herbs used. Ingredients such as coriander, turmeric, lemongrass, galangal, and fresh organic chilies are widely used. Let us take you through the various health benefits that a few of the common ingredients of Thai dishes have:
Turmeric is one of the most common ingredients in Thai food. Curcumin – the key component in turmeric – is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. It also helps to soothe inflammation for patients with acute arthritis. Known for being one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, curcumin helps the body to fight against foreign pathogens. It also helps in improving blood circulation and protecting blood platelets. It is highly advised to include turmeric in your diet. Try to have some at least once a week to improve your immunity.
This vegetable might be a bit uncommon for the folks in the West but has a close resemblance in terms of looks and taste with ginger. The health benefits are also of similar nature. Like ginger, the most significant health benefit of galangal is aid in digestion. The roots of galangal, in terms of first cultivation, can be traced to China and Indonesia where it was primarily cultivated for its medicinal properties. At present, you can find it in all Southeast Asian countries.
The following are the prime benefits of Galangal:
- Helps to soothe abdominal pain caused due to indigestion
- Helps to stop vomiting
- Helps in digestion
- Helps in the cure of motion sickness and sea sickness
- Helps in curing diarrhea
- Helps to improve blood circulation
- Helps in the treatment of joint pain and arthritis
- Helps to fight ulcers
In case you are unable to find galangal in your local market, using ginger would give you similar benefits.
As the name explains, lemongrass is an herb known for its citrusy fragrance. Like galangal, lemongrass was a key ingredient in ancient Chinese medicine. It has the following medicinal attributes:
- Helps in fighting cold and flu
- Acts well against fever
- Cures headaches
- Treats stomach ailments
- Has antifungal properties
- Helps in arthritis
Chilies have been a part of the human diet since the primitive period. However, we have only recently started to begin understanding the health benefits. Chilies are widely used in all Thai dishes and the beneficial properties are as follows:
- Helps to fight insomnia
- Keeps your heart healthy
- Helps to maintain normal insulin and glucose levels in the body
Coconut milk is used in quite a number of Thai gravy dishes. It is much more widely used than cow’s milk, which is rare to find in a Thai dish. This means that lactose-intolerant people can still enjoy Thai curries! Other than providing a great aroma and a certain creaminess to the dish, it has many health benefits, as follows:
- Helps in lowering cholesterol level
- Source of healthy fat
- Improves immunity
- Fights aging
- Controls metabolic functions
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