A few favorite spices…
Spices are wildly known to aid the body in many of it’s processes. Within Ayurvedic medicine, mainly used in Asia, this is of course no news.
But maybe us westerners should start looking at this as well? And if you don’t believe in the healing powers of spices, the worst that can happen is that your food gets that little bit tastier!
The following is from a blogpost made over at Mark’s Daily Apple, and I seriosuly could not have said it better myself:
“Dill: Helps your Digestion. A teaspoon a day can reduce 80 percent of bloating in only three days. Its antibacterial oils not only kill any possible stomach bugs but also help in the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins.
Uses: Feathery texture is sharp-tasting. Great on fish, in chicken and potato salads. Used in pickling.
Tarragon: For Heart Health. One teaspoon daily lowered LDL cholesterol more than 40 percent while increasing good cholesterol nearly 30 percent. Tarragon contains a chemical called rutin, which boosts circulation and reduces plaque in the arteries.
Uses: Flavor of anise, licorice, mint, hay, and pine. Try it in Bernaise sauce.
Oregano: Bacteria Be Gone. Due to the high levels of antibacterial compounds and antioxidants, oregano is just as effective at killing E.Coli and staph bacteria as penicillin.
Uses: Tastes robust. Best in tomato dishes, usually of Mediterranean or Mexican origin.
Bay Leaf: Natural Pain Reliever. Eliminates headaches and migraines. Bay leaf is rich in eugenol, a natural anesthetic that alleviates pain.
Uses: Tastes woody. Perfect in soups, sauces, stews, and pot roasts.
Rosemary: The Brain Booster and Fatigue Fighter. With just one sniff, the phytochemicals found in rosemary can rev up your mind by increasing production of beta waves. Carnosol, a nutrient unique to this herb, fights fatigue by flushing out energy-sapping toxins from the body.
Uses: Smell rosemary sprigs to increase alertness in only five minutes. Intense pine flavor. Great on grilled meats; adds an interesting boost to chocolate desserts.
Cayenne: Appetite Suppressant and Metabolism Booster. Capsaicin, found in cayenne, has thermogentic properties that increase your blood flow and metabolism. Individuals who only use cayenne infrequently also find it reduces hunger.
Uses: Sweet heat. Works well with meats and cheeses.
Cinnamon: Controls Glucose Levels. Cinnamon contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost levels of three key proteins responsible for insulin signaling, glucose transport, and inflammatory response. Sprinkle one half teaspoon on your food to slow carbohydrate absorption by 29 percent.
Uses: Sweet and Savory. This spice is found in almost all world cuisine. From stews to pies this spice doesn’t discriminate.
Cardamom: Treats Indigestion. Chew one teaspoon of these seeds to soothe a sour belly. The aroma and therapeutic properties of cardamom are due to the volatile oil in its seed, which contains cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene, and terpineol.
Uses: Pungent and sweet. This fragrant spice is used in rich curries and milk-based preparations, as well as in spice cakes and desserts.
Sage: Memory Minder. Both the phytonutrients and volatile oils in sage maintain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports memory.
Uses: Piney with eucalyptus notes. Lovely addition to stuffing and pork dishes.
Turmeric: This mildly woody spice is a key ingredient in many Indian, Persian, and Thai dishes. This “poor man’s” saffron is rich in benefits. The active ingredient, curcumin, is so powerful that it is commonly made into expensive nutraceutical capsules. According to Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, “Curcumin is a complete well-being tonic – it benefits every organ in the body… It shows promise of fighting nearly every disease.” Dr. Goel suggests that curcumin aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression.”
You can read the whole article here!
What spices will you be adding to your cooking repertoire?
Something so often neglected in home cooking, yet so beneficial and tasty! My personal favorite is basil, couldn’t imagine a caprese without it. I would, however, suggest using fresh herbs wherever possible. Not only do they taste better, but their nutritional value is also greater since they don’t go through the whole drying process. Frozen is great too if you can’t seem to consume everything before it rots, or if your basil plants keep dying on you (like they do on me). 🙂
Yes, fresh herbs is always preferred! Maybe not always available, but as you say, frozen ones work just as well (and hold a lot longer, too).
I have heard basil plants require a lot of water, but as I don’t have much of a green thumb myself, I must still be doing something wrong with mine, as they tend to give up on me faster than I can say “homemade pesto”. 😉