Let's Spice Things Up a Bit!
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Nutrition is integral to lifestyle and growth. You really are what you eat, and you basically eat what’s in your kitchen pantry at home. That’s why it’s important to keep a well-stocked kitchen. Researchers all over the world cannot stress enough the fact that spices contribute to health just as much as fruits and vegetables, providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Although the Indian cuisine champions the usage of spices, there is more to this endorsement than just colouring up the curry. Here is a list of health benefits that Indian spices provide:
This powerful ‘spice of life’ has an impressive list of uses and benefits. It takes a paramount place as an antioxidant. Curcumin - the active ingredient in turmeric - could potentially ward off dementia and prevent cancer. Turmeric is believed to have substantial Alzheimer's fighting potential as well. It also helps lose weight and regulate your metabolism.
Saffron has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant properties. It has the ability to treat depression, prevent loss of vision, and improve memory. It can provide relief from digestive issues, and is conducive in healing arthritis, impotency and infertility.
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory that improves cardiovascular health, increases metabolic rate, helps control and regulate blood sugar, and has antimicrobial effects. It helps diabetics as it is helpful in digestion of sugar. It has astringent; stimulant and carminative properties, and can check vomiting and nausea.
Cumin is known to provide relief from digestive problems, reduce chances of anemia and ease common cold. Its antiseptic properties are known to boost the immune system and can thus help fight flu. Cumin helps control diarrhea, stomach pain, indigestion, morning sickness and nausea. Cumin also contains iron.
They symbolise the proverb: Big things come in small packages! Used often in Ayurveda medicine, cloves are antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and analgesic. They contain antioxidants and are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, vitamins, and minerals – especially manganese. The antibiotic and antiseptic qualities of clove oil are used in medicines especially in dental, pharyngeal and oral treatments. They have also reported to help diabetics in absorption of sugar. They have wider applications in preparation of mouthwashes and toothpaste, soaps and perfumes.
Nutmeg has antibacterial properties. It helps in fighting tooth decay, Alzheimer's and assists in improving memory. It can also release the tension in muscles.
The scrumptious ginger is great in aiding digestion, fighting sinus problems and stomach cramps. Whether your personal favourite is a ginger tea or beverage or simply munching on a piece of ginger, it is the best way to get rid of sore throats, nausea, exhaustion, cramps from the menstrual cycle, heart burn, migraines, fatigue and constipation. It is conducive to the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body.
Intensely aromatic and flavourful, garlic with its antiviral and antibacterial properties helps in boosting immunity and keeps one looking fresh and healthy. Garlic makes food delicious, and its ability to fight infections and bacteria makes it an effective cure for warts and skin problems. It contains useful minerals such as phosphorous, calcium, and iron, as well as trace minerals like iodine, sulfur, and chlorine.
This 7,000 years-old spice boasts of equally impressive leaves (cilantro) and the seeds used in food and beverage preparation. Coriander has superior anti-inflammatory properties next to being antimicrobial, antiepileptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, and a cogent anxiety inhibitor. Recent studies suggest that seeds have even greater benefits than the leaves. Possessing a unique and intriguing flavour profile, coriander helps in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar naturally! It also aids in digestion, is a good source of vitamin C, and has high iron content.
These little yet compelling peppercorns have their most ancient roots in India. According to recent research, black pepper may not contain only anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and fever-reducing actions, but immune system enhancing properties as well. They aid in digestion, congestion, an upset stomach and can also help stop the bleeding on a cut when applied topically. It also has all the essential nutrient contents. It promotes weight loss and relieves toothache.
Just remember: A little goes a long way!