Being a teacher and a mother of two, doesn’t give you a lot of time in the world to do things for yourself. Every day I am always faced with the biggest dilemma of what to cook and what to eat. I make it a point that at least once a week, normally on Saturday, to eat out. With more and more restaurants opening up in Sydney and the diverse variety of cuisines available, it just makes the decision a lot harder. So that got me thinking about what type of food is actually good for you and I came across a startling discovery: Thai food!
Apart from providing great flavours, Thai food offers one of the most consistently healthy and well-balanced diets available. The individual ingredients used in Thai cooking are not only known for their health benefits, and in many cases, they are actually used in Southeast Asian medicines. In fact, several Thai dishes, Tom Yum Soup in particular, are currently under scientific study for cancer curing properties (see CNN article). I will list some of the main ingredients used in Thai cooking and explain their health benefits.
· Kaffir lime leaves are one of the main flavours used in Thai cooking and is used to promote dental and oral health.
· Lemongrass is a lovely fragrant lemony herb that is extensively used in Thai cooking and is known for its diuretic and anti-oxidant properties. It is also used in Chinese medicine in the treatment of cold and flu’s, arthritis, abdominal pain and other stomach conditions.
· Galangal, a member of the ginger family, is an important ingredient in Thai soups such as tom yum gung and tom kha gai, and has been renowned for its ability to aid with digestion. Galangal has also been found to even cure hiccups!
· Coconut milk – while it has developed a bad reputation over the years it is in fact extremely healthy. Contrary to popular belief, coconut milk lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) while promoting good cholesterol, boosts immunity, modulates metabolic functions, provides valuable fatty acids (which most people in the West are lacking) and inhibits some of the effects of aging.
· Turmeric is known for it’s an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It protects the body from damage by toxins and free radicals and can play a part in preventing cancer.
And lets not forget the all important chillies. Chillies are beneficial in maintianing a healthy cardio vascular system, and help maintain consistent insulin and glucose levels. Another quite unusual, benefit of chillies is that they are known to combat insomnia, so your delicious Thai meal will also help you to sleep soundly at night! So this weekend, I strongly recommend going to a Thai restaurant for a meal. A few of my favourites are Chat Thai in the city and In The Mood For Thai in Surry Hills.