Debunk the Myths that stop you from Eating the Legendary Biryani

By: Sunil Maurya

No matter how cliche it may sound but a plate full of biryani needs no introduction. A simple hotch-potch of rice, meat, vegetables, and spices is a perfect feast for any occasion. Especially in India, where the local and hyperlocal variations have given birth to diverse styles of biryani. However, with the wave of “low fat” food industry, many legendary dishes like biryani has turned into an "unhealthy" option. With the aid of marketing, they have brainwashed the entire culture into believing that the food people have been eating since generations are somehow harming them. But, if one were to research these perceptions would prove factually deceptive.

So what are the perceptions which have made biryani sound so “unhealthy”? Well, it's not the biryani but rather its ingredients which are today demonized. Let’s analyze some of the common myths that are associated with these ingredients.

Myth: Biryani has rice which is high in carbs

Fact: Rice is the main ingredient in Biryani which is today one of the most misunderstood food. Rice has Carbs, but they are not villains, in fact, carbs are essential and have a calming effect on our body. Further, we are often told that rice is high in starch and GI (glycemic index) and should be avoided. Especially by the diabetic people.

But do you know that rice, when cooked with meat and vegetables tend to reduce the GI of the rice?

Yes, it does and hence makes it great for diabetic people. Not only for diabetics, but this ingredient is also great for people with unhealthy gut. Rice promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria that eases the bowel movement. Also not many know that rice has inositol, which has anti-anxiety and fat burning properties. This means a plate full of biryani comes with way too many benefits than you can think. Do you need any more reasons to grab your yummy Behrouz Biryani?

Myth: biryani is cooked with clarified butter (ghee) which is a “fattening ingredient”

Fact: There is no denying in the fact that biryani is cooked with clarified ghee which gives it the authentic taste. But it's bizarre to see how this ingredient is somehow made responsible for many lifestyle diseases. For this, the credit needs to be given to the weight loss industry. They have labeled ghee as the “saturated fat” and since then people started avoiding it without understanding it fully. Yes, ghee has saturated fats but with a unique structure that helps to mobilize fats.

So now you know where the blunder lies?

Labelling it as a saturated fat was not wrong but pushing it in the category of “trans fat” that’s present in your pizza or cake was surely a blunder.

Not only in reducing fats, but ghee also helps in maintaining the cholesterol and lipid profile. Thus, helps in boosting a healthy metabolism that contributes in de-stressing and enables you to sleep better. Biryani is cooked with lots of ghee which not only increase the taste but also gives a relaxing effect. So all the insomniac now you know what you must have for dinner?

Myth: Biryani is made with whole grounded spices that are not so good for the health

Fact: Have you ever wondered what brings the heavenly taste to the biryani? No, it's not any one ingredient, rather it's the host of ingredients that add the exotic flavors to biryani. It includes coriander seed, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cumin seed. These spices are truly the spine of the legendary dish, biryani. But for some reason, even these are seen as “unhealthy” which again isn’t true at all. Indian spices come with a plethora of health benefits. According to Ayurveda, spices can be used to affect the balance of the digestive system. This fact completely burst the myth that biryani which is loaded with spices is unhealthy to consume. In fact, there a lot of the spices such as cumin powder, turmeric, and asafetida that have medicinal properties and can help you stay healthy and in shape.

Myth: Biryani is cooked for hours that kills its nutrients

Fact: we have often heard that Indian dishes, such as biryani is often cooked for hours which kills the minerals and essential enzymes in the dish. So people are increasingly avoiding long-hour cooked dishes and have conditioned to eat bland boil vegetables.

But does that make them healthier? It is little debatable as eating raw vegetables not always boost your health. Let’s understand the science of cooking which our ancestors have preserved for long. Cooking softens our food and makes it easier to digest without using a huge amount of energy. Also, certain nutrients like Vitamin A, iron, calcium and lycopene is increased in the food only after cooking. But people without understanding this science are discarding every traditional cooking technique. These myths are arising due to our belief that traditional foods and cooking techniques are unhealthy. But a scientific intervention reveals that how Indian dishes are stereotyped and people are leaving their flavors and joy of eating their age-old dishes like biryani.

So next time someone advice you to sacrifice the legendary taste of biryani, spare those thoughts for these overlooked benefits.

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The author is a full-time blogger who likes to write about food and its health benefits. Apart from writing she loves to experiment with food and give a healthy twist to it. When she is not working her favorite pastime is to read about the traditional cooking practices. The author strongly believes that we don’t have to give our traditional dishes to get healthy.

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