Advertisement
Advertisement

Herbs and spices are incredibly important in our diet. They're not only tasty, making our dishes and drinks simply delicious, but they all have a number of individual health benefits. Modern science is more and more convinced that natural spices carry remarkable health benefits. To keep your body in the best shape possible, include in your diet some of these spices that will improve your health.

Advertisement

Turmeric

Turmeric is known as one of the most powerful and healthiest spices on Earth. The most potent component is its oil, which contains the yellow or orange pigment called curcumin. Numerous studies show that curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects are comparable to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. It's also an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel syndrome and acts as a powerful antioxidant. It may neutralize free radicals, which are chemicals that travel through the body and cause damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. Turmeric has a distinctive, peppery, warm and bitter flavor. It's often paired with cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom and primarily used in Indian-style curries and chutneys.

Advertisement

Ginger

Alternative medicine has used ginger in treatments for thousands of years. Studies show that even a small amount of ginger can help fight nausea caused by morning sickness, seasickness, and chemotherapy. Similar to turmeric, ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that make is useful as a supplement for pain management. Ginger is quite strong and spicy on its own but makes a great addition to honey and lemon tea, and you can also try adding ginger to soups, stews, and sauces for some extra spiciness.

Advertisement

Rosemary

Rosemary, with its active ingredient rosmarinic acid, is unbeatable when it comes to fighting allergic responses and nasal congestion. It offers an entire immune system boost and is critical during times of flu, common cold and allergy attacks. Rosemary improves your body's circulation to help keep the heart and blood vessels in great condition. It even calms the digestive system, so rosemary tea is perfect if you experience indigestion. Rosemary has an intense minty flavor, useful for spicing oven-baked potatoes, chicken and meat dishes.

Advertisement

Cinnamon

Mostly used in baking and desserts, cinnamon has a number of great health benefits. It's antiseptic, has potent antioxidant activity and helps fight inflammation. Most importantly, cinnamon has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It may lower blood sugar in several ways, including slowing the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity. It's a warming spice that boosts your metabolism and leaves you warmed up for hours. There's nothing else that tastes quite like cinnamon; it's woody, warm, a little bit sweet and spicy. Cinnamon is a perfect addition to your morning coffee, baked goods, porridges or sauces.

Advertisement

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has a cleansing effect on the body, helping to get rid of bacteria and fungi. Its ability to stimulate a pain response in a different area of the body, thus diverting the brain's attention to the new site, helps with migraine pain. It's also a great digestive aid, stimulating the digestive tract and increasing enzyme production and the flow of gastric juices. This aids the body's ability to metabolize food and expel toxins. Cayenne pepper is spicy and warming, with a hot, peppery taste, and it's great for spicy Indian dishes or grilled meats.

Advertisement

Sage

Sage comes from the same plant family as rosemary. From as early as the Middle Ages, sage is believed to have strong healing properties. Sage is a great anti-inflammatory and may provide relief from conditions like arthritis or anything else brought on by excessive inflammation in the body. Additionally, current research indicates that sage may be able to improve brain function and memory, especially in people with Alzheimer's disease. Sage has a bitter, earthy flavor. Try it with pasta sauces or fry with butter to garnish roasted potatoes or risottos.

Advertisement

Fennel

Fennel bulbs are a great source of vitamin C, and regular consumption of fennel helps support a healthy immune system and lower the risk of heart and eye diseases. It's rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage and slow the process of skin aging. The top part of the fennel bulb is where you find most of the flavor. You can use it for soups, stews, and casseroles. It tastes similar to black licorice or licorice root, but it's a little bit softer and more subtle.

Advertisement

Cloves

The clove is a powerful spice loaded with antioxidants, and it has the highest amount of antioxidants among other common herbs and spices. Cloves are a natural painkiller and also attack germs, so they help get rid of a sore throat and relieve upper respiratory infections. The strong, aromatic, warm clove is versatile, but sometimes it's difficult to integrate into everyday meals and snacks. Try adding cloves, together with cinnamon, to baked goods or your morning oatmeal. They're great in chai lattes and cappuccinos, mulled wine or winter stews.

Advertisement

Nutmeg

Nutmeg has detoxifying properties and is an ingredient in many detox beverages and cleansing programs. It helps your liver expel toxins and helps expunge the kidneys of impurities. It can also help prevent cavities by fighting the bacteria in your mouth. Nutmeg is rich in protective anti-inflammatory compounds that may lower your risk of cancer by stifling tumor growth. It's commonly used as a sleep remedy and helps with digestive problems that typically get treated with over-the-counter medication. Nutmeg has a deep nutty flavor, a little bit sweet and similar to cinnamon. Use it when baking and as an addition to coffee or vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squash.

Advertisement

Curry Powder

Curry mix is loaded with health benefits because it's made up of many healthy spices. Some of the most common ingredients in curry include turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cinnamon, and ginger. Research credits curry powder with anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-cancer properties. You don't have to use curry powder just to make a curry; you can experiment with it and use it in a number of different dishes. Try sprinkling it on a side of vegetables for an instant flavor upgrade and nutrition boost.

Advertisement

Cumin

Cumin has a number of digestive benefits and provides much-needed nutrients, such as phosphorus, thiamine, and potassium. It's also been shown to help with several conditions that affect people with diabetes. Cumin has a strong, distinctive flavor. Try it with bread, root vegetable dishes, and casseroles.

Advertisement

Parsley

Parsley has lots of Vitamin C, which helps to boost your immune system. It also soothes pain caused by inflammatory conditions and reduces free radical damage. Parsley may improve your heart health by providing the B vitamins your cardiovascular system needs to do its job. It freshens your breath after a meal and provides you with a number of important minerals. Parsley has a fresh green taste, and it's a perfect addition to salads, smoothies or roasted vegetables.

Advertisement

Saffron

The most expensive spice in the world costs what it does for a reason; it's been shown that saffron can be an effective treatment for depression and menstrual cramping. It also helps with degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and has been likened to prescription drugs regarding its effectiveness. It's quite difficult to describe the taste of saffron. It has a faint honey flavor that can quickly go from sweet to bitter, and it has a strong smell. It's great for cakes and pastries.

Advertisement

Ginseng

Very common in many parts of Asia, ginseng has a strong clinical background supporting its health benefits. It boosts the immune system and helps fight colds and flu. It also helps you keep mental focus, improves concentration and helps stimulate physical and mental activity among people who are weak and tired. People consume ginseng directly for its health benefits and its renowned for its ability to make a dish taste better. You'll generally find it sold in supplement form or in single-serving packets that you consume daily to get the recommended dose.

Advertisement

Licorice Root

Licorice has a number of important health benefits, the most important of which is its ability to help calm the body down and avoid feelings of stress and anxiety. Taking it as a tea is a fast, effective way to induce calmness and change your mood when things get overwhelming. There's also some evidence that licorice root can help in a range of areas: everything from cardiovascular health to the relief of menopausal problems. Black licorice candy was originally made from licorice root, and the two have similar flavors. A very good way to use licorice is to make a tea out if it; just add boiling water to the root. You can also use it in various dishes, but be careful not to add too much.


Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.