Are you bored with your usual cooking?
Or have your taste buds been craving for something new?
Let’s spice it up!
We are here to talk about making food better and tastier with some common spices.
A sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee. A handful of freshly chopped basil over pasta. You know how herbs and spices can wake up just about any food. But they can also do a lot to keep you well.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked sources of amazing nutrients is healthy spices which come with powerful health benefits while injecting flavour into our main dishes.
While we don’t often consume spices in large quantities, even small doses can be powerful providers of nutrients, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, cancer-fighting constituents, vitamins, minerals, and more.
Did you know that in Indian cooking more than 36 types of spices are used?
Or that there can be many health benefits of just sprinkling a few herbs in your dishes?
Yes, herbs and spices are not only some sources of seasoning the food but are also packed with solid healthy reasons to be included in your kitchen.
What is the difference between herbs and spices?
This dynamic duo of herbs and spices are found in almost every Indian kitchen.
Well basically, herbs are the green leafy portion of plants while spices are the portions of plants other than the leaves. They are barks, stems, roots, flowers, fruit and seeds. Spices are usually dried up before using for cooking.
Why You Should Add Spices to Every Meal
Here are the health benefits of some of our favourite spices-plus delicious ways to use them.
1. Turmeric to Fight Inflammation
Pictured Recipe: Turmeric latte
Turmeric is best known for its use in Indian curry dishes and has become a trendy superfood for its ability to reduce inflammation — a common cause of discomfort and illness. This golden spice delivers some solid-gold benefits. That’s thanks to its high amounts of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, “has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses,”
Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, curcumin is also effective at reducing pain and swelling in people with arthritis. A Johns Hopkins study found that a combination of curcumin and a chemotherapy drug was more effective at shrinking drug-resistant tumours than using chemotherapy alone.
Also Read: Foods that fight inflammation
2. Ginger to Relieve Nausea
Ginger is well-known for easing a queasy stomach. Research has found that ginger is effective at calming pregnancy-related nausea, reducing tummy upset after surgery as well as nausea from chemotherapy. Some studies have also found that ginger cuts the severity of motion sickness or prevents the symptoms altogether.
Ginger is also packed with gingerols, inflammation-fighting compounds which some experts believe may help fight some cancers, reduce osteoarthritis pain and soothe sore muscles. One study found that ginger-extract injections helped relieve osteoarthritis-related knee pain.
3. Cayenne to Tame appetite
A dash of cayenne pepper with your dinner may give your weight-loss efforts a tiny boost, especially if you’re not used to spicy stuff. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, the compound that gives fresh chiles-and spices like cayenne and paprika-their kick. Studies show capsaicin bumps up the body’s metabolic rate, helping you burn slightly more calories.
Capsaicin may also stimulate brain chemicals and reduces the number of pain signals sent to your brain. The result? You don’t register as much discomfort. It works on pain caused by arthritis and diabetes-related nerve damage. You can apply creams with capsaicin directly on joints and muscles. Although people often associate spicy foods with stomach upset, capsaicin aids in helping reduce ulcers by restricting the growth of an ulcer-causing bacteria (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori), reducing excess stomach acid and increasing blood flow.
Related: Understanding & Treating Diabetes
4. Cinnamon to Lower Blood Sugar
This popular spice comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree and is used in everything from pumpkin spice lattes to Cincinnati chilli. Cinnamon is popular in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant properties. It’s also been shown to enhance glucose sensitivity, great for people who have high blood sugar. It lends a sweet taste to food without adding sugar, and studies indicate it can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon may also provide heart-healthy benefits, such as reducing high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. That’s especially important for people with diabetes who are at greater risk of developing heart disease.
Cinnamon is not a replacement for diabetes medication or a carbohydrate-controlled diet, but it can be a helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle.
5.Cardomom to control bad breath
Also known as elaichi, cardamom hails from India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Indonesia. It is the world’s third most expensive spice. A rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, calcium, iron, and zinc, this spice promotes heart health, helps in digestion, enhances oral health, helps in diabetes, helps fight depression, fights asthma, prevents blood clots and treats skin infections.
Cardamom is used in alternative medicine to remove toxins. It has also been linked to anti-tumour activity.
6. Cumin to aids digestion
Also known as Jeera, this is one of the most common spices in the home. It is used to prepare a wide variety of dishes and will work in almost anything. Traditionally, cumin was added to foods to aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Recently, cumin has been shown to have antibacterial qualities, especially associated with the digestive tract.
The health benefits of cumin seeds include a boost in the immune system, pain relief, relieving nausea, stomach pains and cramps, indigestion, treat skin disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhoea. It is also used as an iron supplement making it a good supplement.
Related: Natural Drinks To Improve Gut Health
7.Black pepper to cope up with cold
As common as we find it today, black pepper was one of the most sought-after and expensive spices during the spice trade era. It has been proved to lower blood lipids and inhibit cholesterol absorption.
A pinch of black pepper, when added to any recipe, enhances the flavour manifold. Black pepper, also known as the king of spices, promotes weight loss, helps relieve cold and cough, improves digestion, boosts metabolism and treats many skin problems. In fact, a glass of haldi doodh becomes much more therapeutic with a pinch of black pepper.
8.Garlic to Boost Heart Health
Most of us are familiar with garlic, the strong-smelling bulb frequently used in cooking. But what you might not know is that eating garlic may protect your heart from changes that lead to heart disease. As you age, some hardening of the arteries is normal. This is called atherosclerosis and occurs as fatty deposits made up of cholesterol and other substances build up on the inside of your artery walls.
Factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can make it worse. As the build-up increases over time, the arteries narrow. This can make you susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have linked garlic intake with keeping blood vessels flexible, especially in women. In addition, studies suggest that eating garlic may reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.
So, on your next grocery store trip, be sure to make a stop in the spice aisle—your health and taste buds will thank you.
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar