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Palak paneer may not be as healthy as you think: Here’s why

Is palak paneer part of your list of healthy foods? It might not be the best combination for you, says a nutritionist.
no-tomato Indian curry recipes
Palak paneer may not be as healthy as you think. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 30 Nov 2022, 13:45 pm IST
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When most vegetarians head to a restaurant, they tend to pick a dish with paneer or cottage cheese as the star ingredient. Many also assume that if you are a vegetarian then cottage cheese must be your favourite. So, it’s not surprising to know that palak paneer is a popular dish among Indians. It’s not just vegetarians, but also meat lovers who enjoy this dish that consists of pieces of paneer in a thick paste made from puréed spinach. Since spinach and paneer dominate this dish, you might think that it’s packed with a lot of nutrients that are needed by your body. What people fail to understand is that palak paneer may not have many health benefits.

For long, people have been putting spinach in the list of superfoods and they are not wrong.

According to ResearchGate, spinach is a good source of minerals like iron, copper, phosphorous, zinc and selenium, as well as vitamin B complex, ascorbic acid, Omega-3-fatty acids and much more.

green vegetables in monsoon
Spinach is a superfood. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The relatively quick-growing vegetable is medicinally important and is used in traditional medicine for numerous therapeutic effects. It is used to treat diseases or health conditions like diabetes, leprosy, asthma, lung inflammation, joint pains, sore throat, cold, sneezing and fever.

As for cottage cheese, Dr Laura Wyness pointed out that nutritionally, it is high in protein and low in calories.

Dr Josh Axe shared that cottage cheese is also high in phosphorus, and when combined with calcium, it can help build strong bones. It can potentially protect against fractures or osteoporosis.

Just one cup of cottage cheese contains around 138 milligrams of calcium, so that makes it the perfect choice for bone building.

paneer benefits
Paneer is perfect for bone building. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Going by this, you must be wondering how can palak paneer be bad for health. Well, nutritionist Nmami Agarwal took to Instagram to share why mixing spinach with cottage cheese is no good.

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Get the right food combination

She said that even though food makes your tastebuds happy, there are “certain food combinations that don’t go well together.” She pointed out that healthy eating is not only about eating the right food items, but eating “the right food items in the right combinations.”

How spinach and cottage cheese are not a healthy combination

The two obviously taste good together which is why you tend to reach out for a second helping.

Agarwal shared that there are certain food combinations that “inhibit the nutrient absorption of each other when they are eaten together, and one such combination is iron and calcium.”

We know that spinach is rich in iron while cottage cheese is high in calcium, but the expert said that “calcium inhibits the absorption of iron!”

Palak paneer alternative

Don’t feel sad about your favourite dish not making it to the healthy list. There are other healthier and maybe tastier alternatives.

Agarwal suggested that for maximum iron utilisation, “have palak aloo or palak corn instead.”

Now that you know that eating the right food items in the correct combination is essential, start cooking with the correct ingredients to stay fit and in the pink of health.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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