The health benefits of spices is a constant discovery. All you need to find out is which spices are your favorite and which dishes you should add them to. Spices are a truly fascinating issue, so let’s take a look at some of the healthiest spices and see how we can add them to our delicious meals:
According to many scientific research garlic benefits the cardiovascular system, lowering cholesterol, reducing blood clots and preventing platelet aggregation. Garlic has a lot of culinary uses - in dressings, sauces, pesto, purees, marinades and butters, for roasting, casseroles and stews. Also, if you have a cold add minced or chopped garlic in hot water to make a healing tea. Garlic is known to be a traditional remedy for the common cold.
Fiery cayenne pepper is known for its pain-relieving properties, however studies also suggest it may aid weight loss. It is recommended to use cayenne pepper in sauces, casseroles and dips to add heat and sweetness.
This bright orange-yellow spice contains the antioxidant curcumin. Studies suggests that curcumin can suppress the gene implicated in the development and progression of breast cancer by improving the efficacy of chemotherapy medications and reducing drug resistance. When it comes to adding turmeric to your diet, know that it can be added to any vegetable side dish for a little curry-like flavor.
Cinnamon is a nutritional powerhouse as it contains iron, calcium and manganese and is loaded with antioxidants and health benefits. Studies show that cinnamon may help control blood glucose and blood pressure in people with Type 2 diabetes. Enjoy cinnamon on oatmeal or add a little in your next smoothie to start reaping its benefits. Sprinkle it on toast, yogurt or cereal, and mix it into muffin recipes.
Beyond breakfast time, try sprinkling cinnamon on veggies such as roasted carrots or sweet potatoes.
Nutmeg may help you make fewer trips to the dentist. Studies have shown that an antibacterial compound in the spice, called macelignan, cuts plaque formation in half and eradicated cavity-producing microbes.
In addition, nutmeg may relieve digestive problems like indigestion and gas. Experts advise using nutmeg sparingly. So, for stomach troubles try sprinkling just a pinch on top of a fiber-rich cereal in the morning.
Cardamom has a long history as a stomach soother. According to Ayurvedic medicine, it counters acidity and makes fatty foods more digestible. Cardamom contains the phytochemical cineole that has antiseptic properties. It also has a delicious, distinctive aromatic profile - cardamom gives chai tea its characteristic flavor. To counter bad breath and help heal sore throats, add cardamom to tea, coffee, hot chocolate and hot milk.
Sweet fennel bulbs are a good source of vitamin C - frequent consumption is a good way to support a healthy immune system. Fresh fennel is amazing in salads, soups and stews. Dried fennel seeds are usually used in fish dishes, particularly those made with oily fish, because the seeds enhance the flavor and aid digestion of fats. The leaves of the fennel plant are tasty, too. You can sprinkle fresh chopped leaves on yogurt, tofu or steamed vegetables.
According to dietitians the clove is a powerful spice loaded with antioxidants. A 2010 study published in the Nutrition Journal ranked cloves highest in antioxidants compared to other common herbs and spices. Try adding ground cloves in place of cinnamon or ginger in baked goods or in your oatmeal.
Ginger has many compounds, including gingerol, known to provide health benefits. Ginger has been used for the treatment of colds, gastrointestinal problems as well as motion sickness. Animal studies have also shown that ginger may protect our tissues and organs from oxidative damage and prevent cancer growth. Ginger is a tasty addition to tea, smoothies, cereals and yogurt. Also, adding freshly grated ginger to sautéed vegetables, salad dressings and marinades adds an instant Asian twist to your dish.
Research on saffron shows that it provides mood-boosting effects and relief from PMS symptoms. The labor-intensive process of producing saffron makes it the most expensive spice in the world – as it takes from 70,000 to 250,000 purple saffron crocus flowers to produce 1 pound. Just a pinch of saffron is needed to spice an entire dish, and the trick is to make sure it is evenly distributed during cooking.
Cumin is a good source of iron and it may also lower blood glucose according to animal studies, according to Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and representative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cumin has antibacterial properties, and has been found effective in killing bacteria linked with stomach ulcers. To enhance the flavor of foods just toss cumin seeds with vegetables and olive oil, and roast the mixture in the oven.
Which ones are your favorite spices and how do you use them in your meals? Share with us in the comments below.