The Health Benefits of Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, several Thai dishes, such as Tom Yum Soup, are currently under scientific study for their incredible health benefits (see Thai Soup Under Study). Of course, it’s already known that many of the fresh herbs and spices used in Thai cooking – such as turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, and fresh chillies – have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power.
Find out more about these and other ingredients that contribute to making Thai food one of the healthiest you can eat.Each of the following Thai ingredients has numerous health benefits and immune-boosting power. To maximize these benefits, I recommend cooking your Thai food from scratch, which means you are using only the freshest ingredients.
Though foreign to most of us in the West, this relative of ginger has many of the same health benefits, most notably its ability to aid with digestion.
Galangal is now grown in most Southeast-Asian countries, but was first harvested for use in cooking and medicine in China and Java. By the Middle Ages, galangal was already in common use throughout Europe. Referred to as “the spice of life” by St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), galangal was, in fact, one of her favorite remedies. This famous herbalist used galangal to treat everything from deafness and heart disease to indigestion.
Today, galangal is used extensively in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and is often thought to be even more beneficial than ginger in some ways.
This fragrant lemony herb is used extensively in Thai cooking. It has also been used since ancient times in Chinese medicine for the following conditions:
In Thai cooking, coriander is used in two ways: in its seed form, and as a fresh herb. In the West, coriander is also known as “cilantro” or “Chinese parsley”. While fresh coriander has nutritional value, coriander seed has been used since ancient times by healers in Greece, Rome, the UK, China, and India for the following complaints:
CHILIES (fresh or dried, whole, minced or powdered)
Recent human studies show that eating chillies helps you sleep better, keeps your heart healthy, and help maintain consistent insulin and glucose levels. Of all the chilies studied thus far, it seems cayenne pepper is one of the most powerful in terms of health benefits. Also, it’s one of the few chilies which we use here in North America (available in flakes or powder in most grocery stores).
In recent years, coconut milk has somehow been given a bad reputation when, in fact, it is extremely healthy. Yes, coconut milk and oil contain fat – but this is good, not bad fat. Contrary to what you might believe, 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