Spices and herbs play a significant role in our diet with several health benefits. They come with notable nutritional values and provide some major health benefits. Each spice and herbs has its own flavoring and essence too and we use them in our day to day cooking to flavor our foods. Here are five standouts spices and herbs you must add in your daily diet because of its excellent nutritional profile and medicinal properties:
TurmericTurmeric is a spice admired for its flavor, vibrant yellow color, and potent medicinal properties. This gives curry its yellow color and is a very popular Ayurvedic remedy. The main bioactive compound found in turmeric is curcumin. It has potent antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s powerful antioxidant properties help to fight free radical damage and boosting the body's own antioxidant enzymes as oxidative damage is a key mechanism behind aging and various other diseases.
It has also potent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation plays a major role in chronic disease. Research shows that curcumin may be equally or even more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs — without any side effects. Thus, can reduce chronic disease risk caused by inflammation.
Curcumin can also improve brain function, fights Alzheimer's, reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, treats the depression, and relieve arthritis, to name a few.
Ginger is a spice made from the rhizome of the flowering ginger and is a popular spice used in several forms of alternative medicine. It contains a bioactive compound called ‘’Gingerol’’, which gives its unique strong fragrance and flavor and loaded with medicinal properties.
It has been used to help in chronic indigestion, reducing nausea, morning sickness as it has a calming effect on the lining of your digestive system. It also helps fight the flu and common cold, dry cough, runny nose, to name a few. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve osteoarthritis and its symptoms joint pain and stiffness. It has also a soothing effect on the lining of the digestive system and can ease nausea, too.
The active compound in ginger can help lower the risk of infections as it can prevent the growth of many different types of bacteria. It may also help fight against the RSV virus (a common cause of respiratory infections).Ginger may also work wonder in pain management. It reduces muscle pain and soreness due to exercise and may significantly reduce menstrual pain. It may also help in reducing blood cholesterol, blood sugar, body weight, and belly fat and thus significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The bioactive compound in ginger can help lower the risk of infections as it can prevent the growth of many different types of bacteria. It may also help fight against the RSV virus (a common cause of respiratory infections).
Coriander is an herb that’s commonly used to flavor the dishes. Coriander leaves are often used whole, ground (chutney) and for garnishing purpose whereas the seeds are used dried or ground in the gravy.
The bioactive compounds in coriander seeds include terpinene, quercetin, and tocopherols which may have antioxidant, anticancer, immune-boosting, and neuroprotective effects.
Coriander offers several antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and fight inflammation in our body. It is loaded with dietary fiber that advances the healthy working of the liver and facilitates bowel moments. This also helps in intestinal issues including bloating, gastric, diarrhea, nausea, etc. and produces the digestive juices that help in the digestion process.
Coriander leaves and seeds are rich in vitamin C, which helps in curing a cold and flu. It also helps in reducing bad cholesterol and promotes good cholesterol in the body
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Not to be confused with regular or Thai basil, holy basil is a well-known sacred herb in India.
It is very flavourful and aromatic, leafy green herb, also called ‘’Queen of herbs’’ due to its health benefits. It is considered a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit.
It also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic (a painkiller) properties. It strengthens immune function by increasing certain immune cells in the blood and inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, boost wound healing speed and strength and thus helps fight Infections and flu.
Holy basil is also high in antioxidants and helps to detox the body from toxins. It also helps in reducing blood sugar levels before and after meals, as well as lower the cholesterol level.
It has also an anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and adaptogenic properties (helps in stress management and promotes mental balance) thus help in treating anxiety and anxiety-related depression.
Drinking basil tea or its concoction/extract can stimulate and vitalize your body and can foster clear thoughts, relaxation, and a sense of well-being.
Black pepper (peppercorn) is one of the most popular and commonly used spices worldwide. It has been recognized as the “king of spices” and used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years due to its high concentration of potent medicinal plant compounds.
Piperine - the main active compound found in black pepper has potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and cancer-fighting properties.
Piperine may reduce the free- radical damage and shown to decrease the chronic inflammation which may be an underlying factor in conditions like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Piperine also suppresses the inflammation in the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies. It can also improve brain function and may benefit symptoms related to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Black pepper is a rich source of vitamin K, manganese and iron, and increases the absorption of essential nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. But, that not it. Black pepper may also promote gut health, relieve in pain, and reduce appetite thus promote weight loss. It is also known to balance blood pressure, lower the blood cholesterol level and may also help improve blood sugar metabolism thus beneficial for diabetic people.
Holy basil is the most flavourful and aromatic, leafy green herb, also called ‘’Queen of herbs’’ due to its health benefits. It is considered a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit.
Take AwayRegardless, the versatile flavor-enhancer - spices, and herbs are a great addition to almost any food. They contain medicinal properties and hold many health benefits. Moreover, adding them in the daily diet makes it easier for you to cut back on less healthy ingredients like salt, sugar, and added fat. So it's worth adding them to your routine diet. You can use these spices and herbs in making a spicy herbal tea.
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