Some say variety is the spice of life, but for me, a little bit of spice can go a long way to making a boring dish taste great. There are so many different spices out there, all with their own little unique blend of nutrients designed by the greatest food manufacturer of all, Mother Nature. So I have decided to make a list of my 10 favourite herbs and spices and the reasons why. ..
- Cinnamon – One of the best spices, it has been shown to help control blood sugar in diabetics as it slows the release of carbohydrate in to the system. The polyphenols (an antioxidant) which it is so rich in has been shown to have heart health benefits and a potent anti-inflammatory effect on the body. All you need is half a teaspoon on your food to reap the benefits of it and can be used in a wide variety of foods. Just make sure you are getting the real stuff as many of the spices that claim to be cinnamon are full of sugar and additives.
- Garlic – Used for many years for it’s proven effects at keeping vampires away. Well maybe that’s not true, but it is a potent anti bacterial and antifungal, it has been shown to benefit people with yeast infections, sinus issues and the cold. I use it in just about everything from roasts, to casseroles and stir-fry’s. I even tried it in a smoothie once. Wouldn’t really recommend that one though…
- Ginger – Now this one is great in smoothies depending on your taste. But I can tolerate heaps of it so I load up my smoothies with it. Benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, especially for arthritis sufferers, it’s a great digestive aid as it can settle an upset stomach and has been shown to combat nausea. Although it is suggested to use it before the nausea takes effect. Also recommended for morning sickness sufferers.
- Turmeric – Is used a lot in Indian cooking as it gives curry that yellow colour. But what gives turmeric the yellow colour is a substance called curcumin which many claim is an anti cancer chemical. Like ginger, it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and even beneficial to people suffering from psoriasis (an inflammatory skin condition).
- Oregano – There are about 40 different forms of oregano, but the one that is reported to have the most benefit is oreganum vulgare. Best used in an oil form, it can be used for treating fungal conditions of the skin, nails and for the bacteria candida albicans. It is a very potent oil and it is advised that you dilute it, especially when consumed as it may cause severe irritation. Some use it as an alternative to antibiotics and some reports say that it is so good, that it only target bad bacteria, unlike antibiotics which are indiscriminate.
- Cayenne – Is used as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster (thermogenic), so great in aiding weight loss. It narrows the nose and throat blood vessels relieving congestion so you just add it to a soup and it is a great way to relieve the symptoms of a cold or flu. Diabetes sufferers seem to have less spikes in their sugar levels and It is also reported that there are studies going on in it’s value as an anti cancer spice.
- Cumin – Is a popular spice in Indian and Mexican food due to its peppery flavour. It’s high in Iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin B1. It’s great for digestion and relieving stomach cramps by stimulating the release of pancreatic enzymes.
- Saffron – Has potent antioxidant properties. It has been used as an antidepressant and is great for bladder, liver and kidney health. It can help relieve cold symptoms and relieving sore gums when applied directly.
- Cardamom – Related to ginger, it has the same positive effects on digestion, it can help clear out the system as it’s a diuretic, lowers blood pressure, a powerful antioxidant and limits the growth of bacteria and fungus.
- Basil – Known for it’s relaxation benefits, it is also rich in vitamins A, C, K, and minerals magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. Some studies have shown it has anti aging capabilities along with helping the liver, brain and heart stay healthy.
There are many more herbs and spices that provide many different benefits, but these are just a few that you really should know about. Add them to your food regularly and see how your health improves with them.