Every now and then, particularly on New Year’s Eve, we all make a resolution to eat healthier food, cutting out the salt and fat, instead adding fruits and vegetables to our diet. But, for really spicing up your health, try adding a dash of basil and oregano or a few cloves of garlic to your diet.
What many don’t realize is that not only do herbs and spices inject a variety of flavours into otherwise bland meals; they contain numerous health benefits, as well.Â Using more herbs and spices in place of traditional seasonings like sugar, salt and fat, helps improve overall health benefits and flavour of foods we eat every day.Â One just has to look Eastern and sub-continental India’s cuisine to understand what I am talking about.Â Rich in spices and low on fat and salt, the population of these countries suffers less from the diseases that are so common in the western world.Â If, they are beginning to rear their heads, it is only because McDonalds, KFC, Coke and other western no-nos have begun to invade their countries.
Herbs and spices not only add a welcome kick to bland meals, they also help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent certain cancers, lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health.
Here are a few tips for picking the best spices to spice up your food and your health.
Use herbs instead of salt, such as, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley and garlic, which bring out the natural flavours in a meal.
Use fresh garlic to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.Â Â For maximum benefit, you three medium cloves of garlic per day are necessary.
Want to look young, eat rosemary and fight ageing, as it is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants and may have potential cancer-prevention properties.
Basil, oregano and rosemary will help you fight colds.Â Not only do these three herbs contain strong essential oils, they potentially fight colds and flu, being powerful antioxidants as well.
Chronic coughs should be treated with thyme, whose unique health benefits have been traditionally used to treat coughs, even whooping cough.
End back pain by eating curry.Â Research shows that curcumin, the substance commonly found in turmeric (a spice staple in curry dishes) has known anti-inflammatory properties, working in a very similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Fight cancer by eating more curry, as apart from its anti-inflammatory properties, research on curcumin shows it can shrink pre-cancerous lesions known as colon polyps.
Lower blood pressure with warming spices like ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, pepper and cayenne pepper.Â These make you feel warm by bringing blood from the centre of the body to the skin, which is useful for dispersing blood more evenly throughout the body, thereby decreasing blood pressure.
Soothe an aching tummy with ginger, which contains gingerols that decrease nausea causing oxidative products in the digestive tract.
Reduce sugar; add the spice e.g. cinnamon and nutmeg to sweet snacks.Â For instance, add an extra kick to unsweetened apple sauce by adding cinnamon.
Spices not only help to keep you healthy, they only inject colour to your plate e.g. nutritious spices like paprika!Â Add colour and spice to your life with home-grown herbs and spices from the Mistress of Spices – India!