We pay close attention to our daily diet, but have you thought about the various breads that accompany our meals? Dev Goswami tells you about the nutritional content of the different Indian breads
It’s not just the French who can pride themselves on having a variety of breads. From regular roti and paratha to puris and bhaturas, Indian cuisine has a variety of breads that complement different dishes as well as breads that are meant for specific occasions. And while we are always paying attention to the vegetables we eat or the amount of rice we put on our plates, we don’t think twice about what accompanies it. Dr. Purwa Duggal, head of nutrition at Fortis Hospital, tells us about the nutritional content of various Indian breads.
A bread comparison
Indian breads are different because of the way we cook them and the flour that is used to make them. The result of this is that all breads have their own pros and cons. We give you a quick breakdown:
- Chapatti, phulka and tandoori roti taste and look different, but are essentially prepared with the same flour. They are made from whole wheat flour, which is one of the healthiest types of flour. Ideally, these breads give you nutrients such as fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, realistically it depends on the quality of the wheat and the extent to which the flour has been milled. So, it is a good idea to get flour milled on your own rather than buying readymade packets.
- Another popular Indian bread is the puri, which is often associated with big occasions such as festivals and weddings. Puris are prepared from whole wheat flour but are deep fried in oil, which leads to a high accumulation of fat.
- Bhatura, which we all relate to the popular north Indian dish, chole bhature, is similar in preparation to puris. However, it uses white flour (maida), which makes it an unhealthy bread. Maida is the residue left behind when wheat has been processed and it contains no vitamins, minerals, proteins or fibre. It is literally ‘junk’ food and consumption of maida is not good for your health.
- Compared to the rest, jowar or bajra (millet) rotis are the healthiest option. They do not use traditional whole wheat flour, but are high in potassium, phosphorus, iron, folate and magnesium. Bajra rotis are known to help reduce cholesterol and are a good source of amino acids.
What you should eat
Deciding on one type of bread is a tough task. Due to the variety in preparation, it is good to include a mixture of everything in your diet. But, breads such as puris and bhaturas should be restricted as occasional treats due to their high fat content. Other than that, ensure that whatever type of bread you are eating is prepared from whole wheat flour, which is the best flour for your health. While chapatti and phulkas are quite common in our daily diet, also remember to include other breads such as jowar and bajra rotis. Dr. Purwa suggests you try mixing different kinds of flour (except maida) with wheat flour and making wholesome rotis out of it.