Cooking Essentials: 6 Spices To Boost Your Health
While spices are traditionally thought of as a flavour enhancement to elevate any dish, they also include a variety of health benefits that may assist in lowering the risk of disease and improving symptoms of existing conditions. Now is the time to build that impressive spice rack and reap the anti-inflammatory properties with the following 6 essential spices.
Cinnamon is a great all-rounder spice that can be used in many sweet or savoury dishes. From your everyday breakfast cereal, to cakes or to a hearty roast lamb dish, the sweet and spicy aroma is a great addition to help lower blood sugar and fight diabetes. A study revealed that cinnamon contains the second highest number of antioxidants among 26 different herbs. It imitates the effects of insulin and can assist in regulating your blood sugar after a meal.
Throughout ancient history, garlic was primarily used for its health and medicinal properties. It’s enriched in antioxidants, iron, potassium and zinc among others to help combat the common cold and to support the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Research indicates that garlic can keep blood vessels flexible to help blood flow more easily and may help to reduce cholesterol.
For those who can take the heat, cayenne is a type of chilli pepper that can be used in transforming any dish and is suitable for many different regional styles of cooking. Cayenne contains capsaicin which provides many of its medicinal properties. The active ingredient of capsaicin may provide pain relief by reducing the chemical P which carries pain messages to the brain. Additionally, it can provide relief from cold symptoms such as sneezing, a stuffy nose and congestion.
Black pepper is a versatile spice and a great mild alternative to cayenne. While it is a kitchen staple, the health benefits are not to be overlooked. It is high in antioxidants which may assist in the prevention or delay of the damaging effects of free radicals that is formed from exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke and sun rays. Black pepper is valued for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
A zesty, tropical spice that has been utilised for thousands of years; ginger is loaded with nutrients. It’s a traditional medicine that can help to relive nausea and reduce the severity of motion sickness or prevent the symptoms altogether. It’s especially useful at soothing pregnancy-related nausea as well as an upset stomach. Lastly, ginger is also reported to be effective at reducing exercise-induced muscle pain and soreness.
Turmeric has been widely used to treat wounds, infections, colds and liver disease. A compound in turmeric, curcumin, is also considered to possess the properties to reduce inflammation in the body. You can read more about curcumin in our blog post here.
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