Why spices are so important to you?
77% of people add spice to their food – are you one of them? Food should not go
without spice, herbs and spices make food tastier, but they too are healthy for
you. Dietician Auslander Moreno says ‘You should be cooking with herbs and
spices regularly – and, if possible, using several at a time.”
So, why add spice to food?
Adding spices to food is a good idea for many reasons. For starters, spices contribute rich flavour to food without adding any calories, fat, sugar, or salt. In addition, research shows that spices contribute to health just as much as fruits and vegetables, providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Herbs and spices have been in use for centuries both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Spices not only enhance the flavour, aroma, and colour of food and beverages, but they can also protect from acute and chronic diseases. Today consumers are considering the use of herbs and spices for medicinal and therapeutic/remedy use, especially for various chronic conditions. There is now ample evidence that herbs and spices possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, anticarcinogenic, and glucose- and cholesterol-lowering activities as well as properties that affect cognition and mood.
A list of some of the healthiest spices to choose from and why
There are several herbs and spices with multiple health benefits, so let us dive into a few of the healthiest herbs and spices being used more regularly for their pure benefits.
- Cinnamon: Lowers blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect.
- Sage: Sage extract can improve brain and memory function, especially in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Peppermint: The natural oil in peppermint provides pain relief for those with IBS. It also has potent anti-nausea effects when used in aromatherapy.
- Turmeric: Turmeric’s health benefits are numerous, and its active compound curcumin is one of the most widely studied phytochemicals due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.
- Basil: Holy basil improves immune function and inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and moulds.
- Cayenne pepper: Is rich in a substance called capsaicin, which reduces appetite and boosts fat burning. It has also shown anti-cancer potential in animal studies.
- Ginger: One gram of ginger is an effective treatment for many types of nausea. It is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain.
- Rosemary: Rosmarinic acid in rosemary has anti-inflammatory effects that suppress allergy symptoms and reduce nasal congestion.
- Garlic: Garlic can combat sickness and improve heart health.
- Black pepper: It contains piperine which is considered a type of antioxidant that helps to lower the risk of chronic illnesses like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and neurological conditions.