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Pizza, sandwich, burger, French fries – our world of junk food is incomplete without tomato ketchup! But we all know that it makes an unhealthy meal even more unhealthy because this store-bought, packaged item is laced with fat, sugar and salt. So, we wondered if saunth, the tangy homemade version, a better alternative? If you love a tangy flavour, saunth aka tamarind chutney may be your go-to condiment anyway. Saunth is widely consumed with chaat, pani puri, bhel puri, and fried items like samosa, pakode, or kachori. While both sauce and saunth hold special space in our lives, can they be compared with each? And is one better than the other? We’ve got the answer for it here!
In order to understand the nature of these two sauces and the difference between them, HealthShots spoke to Dr Swathi Reddy, Consultant Physiotherapist, and certified diet counselor, and MIAP, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru.
Saunth is a chutney which is prepared using tamarind paste and dried ginger powder whereas sauce is a puree made with tomatoes with savoury vegetables and some other seasonings. Saunth is usually used in many Indian dishes, especially as an accompaniment for chaat. On the other hand, sauce (of different forms like tomato sauce, apple sauce, soy sauce, salad dressing, or mayonnaise) is used for savoury or sweet dishes.
Saunth is made of tamarind or imli. Imli is known for its sour sweet flavour and is a type of tropical fruit that comes from the tamarind tree. Tamarind pulp contains a variety of nutrients that can boost your health because it has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and is rich in phytonutrients that act as potent dietary antioxidants which inhibit the growth of free radicals (responsible for damaging body cells).
Dr Reddy said, “Saunth has several health benefits, especially when it comes to digestion. Since it has dried ginger powder in it, saunth serves as a natural remedy for problems like irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, stomach cramps, constipation, cold and it plays a major role in improving gut health.”
Good digestion is the key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. The key ingredients of saunth – tamarind and ginger – are very beneficial if someone is trying to shed a few kilos.
Sauce, on the other hand, can be harmful to your health as mostly it is store-bought. People usually do not make the effort of preparing homemade sauces. Dr Reddy said, “Store-bought sauces contain a lot of preservatives, fats, salt, sugar, and fructose corn syrup which can lead to side effects like obesity and acidity when consumed excessively.” Homemade sauces with healthy ingredients can be of some benefit to your health.
It is always better to go with saunth as an accompaniment for your savoury dishes. But remember to always prepare it with ingredients like jaggery or dates. Do not use sugar as a sweetening agent as it will null out the health benefits saunth has to offer and defeat the purpose. Saunth prepared with jaggery, or dates are very healthy and good for weight loss.