Idlis hold pride of place on the Malayali’s breakfast list. Totally free of fat, it can be eaten heartily. Here’s a break-up of the nutrient content in one single idli.
Energy: 40 calories.
The human body needs 1,500 to 2,500 calories per day.
Protein: 2 gm to strengthen the muscles.
Fiber: 2 gm to keep cancer away and get relief from constipation.
Carbohydrates: 8 gm, which is well within the limits for diabetics.
Apart from this, an idli has the required levels of iron, folic acid, calcium and potassium.
The iron comes from the urad dal. The health benefits from fermentation and steaming are immense. The sambar, a must-have with the steam cakes, is rich in vegetables and complements the idli. The two of it are well sufficient and filling as a breakfast.
Here’s a word of caution: Just as too much of anything is bad, overeating is a vice. Have your pick of fruits at least two hours after any major meal. This will prevent heartburn and bloating.
(Dr Jyothidev Keshavdev, diabetologist and geriatric specialist heads the Jyothidev Diabetes Centre in Thiruvananthapuram).