Let a little spice into your life with these top 6 herbs and spices to spice up your diet and health!
Herbs and spices have come a long way. They were once one of the biggest commercial industries in the world. Countries fought over them; prices were outrageous, and secrets were kept about their origins to create a mystery around them. They were a hot commodity used for food, medicine, and perfumes. Today, herbs and spices are still used mainly for culinary purpose. Nevertheless, we cannot deny that they still offer many healthy rewards.
Herbs and spices contain some of the most powerful antioxidants of all foods. However, there are more to herbs and spices than just antioxidants. They have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, and antiviral properties as well. They contain compounds that protect you against diseases: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Studies show that many herbs and spices contain a wide range of health benefits. The following are my top 6 favorite herbs and spices and their health benefits.
- Turmeric gives the yellow-gold hue in curry powder, is popular in Indian cooking, and has been a traditional medicine for centuries.
- It’s packed with polyphenol called curcumin that demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
- Studies have found that turmeric may protect against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems.
- It’s an effective brain protector.
- Garlic can help protect you against heart disease.
- Health benefits range from healing wounds to treating arthritis, lowering, inflammation, oxidative stress, lowering cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
- Red, white, and black hot peppers, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika all have strong health benefits.
- They contain a concentrated source of capsaicin, a powerful phytochemical that gives chilies their heat.
- Studies suggest that capsaicin has cancer protective, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving effects.
- Black and white pepper contain piperine which is a bioactive compound linked to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects.
- The sweet aroma of cinnamon is often associated with apple pie, but this spice has more to offer than just a sweet aroma.
- It supplies antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects.
- Cinnamon contains polyphenols that act like insulin in the body and is a potential blood glucose and insulin regulator.
- Ginger contains many healing compounds such as gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin, and salicylate that strengthen its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial effects.
- Studies show that ginger may help nausea associated with pregnancy, motion sickness, and chemotherapy.
- Mint is a fresh, aromatic herb commonly used in toothpaste, gum, candy, and beauty products.
- The main compounds of peppermint essential oil are menthol and menthone which have often been used to treat the common cold and cough for centuries.
- Mint freshens your breath and has significant antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, antitumor actions that are effective in treating bacterial and viral infections, inflammation, and nausea.
- Effective for gastrointestinal tissue and can be used for pain relief such as headaches, toothaches, and joint conditions.
How to up your intake of these flavorful health protective Herbs & Spices
- Keep bulbs of fresh garlic and roots of fresh ginger on hand.
- Snip fresh or dried herbs into soups, stews, salads, dressings, pasta, grains, vegetables, and sandwiches.
- Add sweet, nutty spices such as cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger to cereals, fruits, desserts, and smoothies.
- Grow your own herb pot so you can have fresh herbs on hand for any occasion.
- Infuse garlic in olive oil – chop garlic and add to olive oil.
- Add fresh mint or peppermint essential oil to water to jazz up the taste.
- Boil water, pour over mint leaves or grated ginger root and make tea.
- Add turmeric powder to smoothies, soups, and dressings.
- Spice up your lemon water with a dash of cayenne to boost your metabolism.
- Add garlic in your green juice to help lower heart disease and cholesterol levels.