Many people ask me about the benefits of spices. Having studied most commonly used Indian spices and their health enhancing benefits, which have been scientifically proven, I have listed some of them below:
Cardamom – Cardamom is an ancient spice, native to India. It is used worldwide in desserts, vegetables, curries and pilaf rice dishes. These aromatic seeds contain an oil that helps to stimulate digestion.
Cinnamon – It is a common ingredient in toothpaste, mouthwashes and chewing gum. It is also found in traditional sweets, cakes and desserts as well as many savory dishes. Cinnamon has health boosting compounds including eugenol, which is used to relieve pain and cinnamaldehyde which has sedative properties. It is also useful for improving the circulation and has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties.
Cloves – Clove oil is well known as a treatment for toothache, and its antiseptic properties make it an excellent mouthwash. The main ingredient in the oil is eugenol which is anti-inflammatory and can help ease the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis. It is a warming spice which can help reduce congestion and stimulate digestion.
Cumin – Cumin is a member of the carrot family and looks and smells like caraway seed. It is traditionally used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking for curries, chillis, stews and breads. It is a good source of iron and manganese and is thought to help digestion and bloating.
Ginger – Ginger is an essential ingredient in Asian and Indian cooking. It is also commonly used for curries and sauces as well as to flavor cakes, biscuits and desserts. Ginger contains antioxidants and so can help protect against disease. It can help calm spasms and reduce flatulence in the digestive system. It is an excellent treatment for nausea associated with travel sickness, pregnancy and hangovers.
Garlic – Studies show that two cloves of garlic weekly provide cancer-protective benefits. A recent study showed that eating garlic boosts the body’s supply of hydrogen sulfide, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.
Turmeric – This spice gives curry powder and mustard their deep yellow color. Rich in antioxidants, researchers have discovered that it may help in the fight against cancer as well as containing inflammation fighting compounds called curcuminoids. Studies show that these curcuminoids may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and joint inflammation.
Red chili peppers – These peppers contain capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that helps relieve pain. They ease congestion and clear mucus from the lungs and nose, boost immunity, prevent stomach ulcers by killing bacteria, assist in weight loss, reduce blood cholesterol, manage triglyceride levels, and prevent cancer including stomach cancer.
Coriander – This herb is effective against swelling, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, conjunctivitis, and skin disorders. It is antioxidant rich and contains vitamins A and C, and minerals. It is protective of the eye by preventing macular degeneration and soothing the eye against stress. It has a stimulating effect on the endocrine system which in turn stimulates the production of insulin, resulting in increased insulin in the blood to aid in proper assimilation and absorption of sugar and lower the sugar level in the blood.
Black pepper –This spice improves digestion by stimulating the taste buds and thereby alerting the stomach to increase hydrochloric secretion. Black pepper is also an antioxidant, and it has antibacterial effects. It is full of manganese, and it also has a good amount of iron and dietary fiber, as well.
Note: This article has been compiled based on facts from various resources and should not be construed for medical advice.