15 Kitchen Herbs and Spices with Powerful Health Benefits
Herbs and spices in our foods have served the purpose of flavoring throughout the years, but also to provide boosts of nutrition and wellness. According to the Professor of Nutrition at the University of Miami, Dr. Moreno, “herbs and spices make food better while improving your health.”
Usually, one can easily decipher the cook behind a meal based on herbs and spices known to that cook. Much more than the taste, various herbs and spices can help to improve memory and prevents diseases and illness.
While their values may reduce during the heating process, several herbs and spices can restrain the oxidative effect from carcinogenic compounds and unstable fat. Others simply add flavor or aid and protect the body from radical harm.
Here is a list of 15 herbs and spices with strong health benefits:
Thyme is found in many homes as it is an important ingredient in preparing rice. Thymol, the antioxidant in thyme, is known to prevent infection. Thyme can be used as a cleaner and mouthwash due to its minty properties.
Cinnamon is one popular spice used by bakers and food companies. The cinnamaldehyde compound of cinnamon triggers its medicinal importance and makes it a useful antioxidant to control inflammation as well as reduce the blood’s cholesterol level. Cinnamon reduces the sugar level thereby serving as a strong anti-diabetic spice.
Sage was lauded during the middle-ages for its healing properties. While its importance was not limited at that time, sage is now known to be an herb that helps in improving the brain’s function and memory. People with Alzheimer disease can also experience a significant improvement in the way their brains function with the use of sage.
Cayenne pepper: If you want to make a really spicy dish, you should go for Cayenne pepper. This type of chili pepper contains capsaicin, an active compound that helps burn body fat and reduce appetite. Most of the known weight loss supplement include Cayenne pepper as one of their active ingredients.
Turmeric: If you are familiar with curry, you should know that the active ingredient that gives curry its yellow color is turmeric. Recently, it has become a common ingredient used by beauticians in reducing acne and blackheads. The main compound for its medicinal importance is Curcumin. Curcumin is an antioxidant that fights and control oxidative damages. While oxidative damage is known to cause aging and diseases, Curcumin helps the body to release its own antioxidant to fight and prevent diseases. It is also significant for its anti-inflammatory element.
Ginger is popular for spicing for foods and homemade drinks. Amongst others, it is a popular flavor used in Soymilk to prevent a nauseating feeling. It is also used for morning sickness and seasickness. While functioning as an anti-inflammatory, Ginger can also help to manage pains.
Rosemary’s active ingredient in Rosmarinic acid. This herb serves as an active substance to reduce nasal congestion and allergy effects, making it a perfect spice for teas and soups. During food preparation, the inclusion of rosemary prevents heterocyclic aromatic amines that are formed when frying.
Oregano is known to be one of the herbs with high antioxidant activity. As an antibacterial and antiviral agent, oregano helps to protect your foods against food born pathogens. By adding it as a spice to your teas and soups, you can protect yourself from common cold and cough.
Garlic has come to be known over the years as a medicinal herb. The main ingredient in Garlic is Allicin and that is the ingredient responsible for its peculiar smell. Garlic supplement is useful in combating common cold and beneficial in reducing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Peppermint is known for its health properties. The peppermint oil can help manage pains and relief the bowels of irritable activities. Peppermint also reduces abdominal bloating in the digestive system. Peppermint aromatherapy is effective in treating nausea that is caused as a result of surgery or Labor.
Ginseng is an herb that helps in homeostasis. It keeps the body active without increasing or reducing its effect. With its ability to improve a person’s mood and mental performance, it is best used as a spice for home-made drinks. The significant study has also shown that Ginseng helps to cure dementia and aids in total cognitive development.
Cardamom is known as one of the top notable spices for the digestive system. It kills pathogenic bacteria that can be found in the mouth and the gut area. It also aids in a smooth flow of blood. It can be used as a spice in tea. More so, you can chew the pods to hold and reduce bad breath.
Black pepper is also commonly known as Peppercorn. It is known as one of the top ten commonly traded spice. Its bioavailability property makes it beneficial to add Black pepper with other spices as it transports the benefits of these spices to required parts of the body. It serves as a natural supplement for weight loss as well as provides respiratory relief.
Fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are used as a spice to aid proper digestion, reducing postmenopause symptoms, and a cure for bad breath. The essential oils derived from this spice also helps to inhibit infection as well as provide a known relief for the gastrointestinal tracts.
Curry leaf. Much more than adding the leaf to food and throwing it away after you think its effect has been maximized, curry leaf has proved to be a spice with great health benefits. Curry leaf helps cure diarrhea and with the presence of peculiar vitamins, its antioxidant properties cannot be overemphasized. Also, the dry leaf powder can be mixed with oil to improve your hair growth.
Kathy Mitchell is a freelancer who writes for health blogs, including on MotherEarthLiving.com and Lifehack.org. In her free time, Kathy enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family. Connect with Kathy on Facebook and Twitter.