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Herbs and Spices and Wellness

By Annie

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Spices contain an impressive list of plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. They have been in use since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Most are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals. In fact, most contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables. Herbs and spices are also an inexpensive way to add flavor to food without the extra fat, calories, sodium or cholesterol.

Black Pepper: While millions of people consume pepper in their food every day, most do not realize that black pepper is also an important medicinal spice that can be used to treat a wide variety of physical symptoms and diseases. It is a natural antibiotic and a great dietary source of fiber, potassium, iron and vitamins C and K. It has a history of use in herbal medicine for stomach ailments, anemia, impotence and heart disease, and has also historically been used to preserve food.

Black pepper may help in weight loss - The outer layer of the peppercorn contains substances that boost fat metabolism. Adding black pepper to foods may help in the treatment of obesity. It improves dental health - Pepper helps fight tooth decay and provides relief from tooth ache. It should be a staple in your spice rack. You may think of pepper as salt's other half, but pepper can stand alone, especially if you have or are at risk for high blood pressure and need to limit your sodium intake. To get the best flavor, freshly grind peppercorns right before using, since pepper begins to lose its pungent taste and aroma once it is ground.

Turmeric: Turmeric is a spice with anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent and treat arthritis and protect against memory loss. Turmeric is also used as a natural dye, so use caution when handling it - it can discolor clothes, hands, and surfaces.

Cardamom: Cardamom is widely used in South Asia to fight tooth and gum decay and disease. It can also be used to help soothe a sore throat and relieve hoarseness of voice. The volatile oil in cardamom has been proven to soothe the stomach and intestines, making cardamom an ideal solution for a host of digestive problems, such as constipation, dysentery, and indigestion. It can be used aromatically to increase or encourage appetite, and also assists in soothing gas and heartburn. Cardamom oils can be added to baths as a form of aromatherapy that fights depression and reduces stress.

Coriander: Coriander seeds as well as fresh coriander leaves help in healthy digestion. It has anti-oxidant properties which promotes healthy functioning of the liver .it is a rich source of many essential vitamins like folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta carotene. Studies have shown that coriander leaves and seeds contain 30% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Cinnamon: In a study of type 2 diabetics, German researchers found that cinnamon can reduce blood sugar by 10%, possibly because compounds in cinnamon activate enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors. The sweet spice has also been shown to help lower levels of cholesterol and blood fats that may contribute to diabetes risk.

Cumin: The health benefits of cumin include its ability to aid in digestion, improve immunity and treat piles, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, lactation, anemia, skin disorders, boils and cancer and is generally consider a boost for overall health.

Paprika: Paprika is a spice made from dried and ground red peppers. It can range from sweet and mild to spicy and hot, and is used in cooking to add flavor and color to dishes. Like other spices, paprika adds flavor to food without adding sodium, calories, and fat.

Basil: There are many other nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in basil such as omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A. Dried basil still has many of the health benefits but your best bet is fresh Basil.

Bay Leaves: Most people are familiar with the bay leaf as a culinary herb used to season soups and stews, but it also has a centuries-old reputation as a medicinal herb the bay leaf's effectiveness in treating many of the conditions. They were eaten fresh or dried and infused into warm water to be taken internally for a variety of ailments. The resulting infusion was a diuretic, increasing urination to remove excess water from the body, and to induce vomiting. Bay leaves infusion promotes sweating, breaking fever, and flu symptoms.

Parsley: Two tablespoon of fresh parsley can provide more than 150% of your daily requirement for vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood and bones. Plus, the herb's odor-beating chlorophyll will freshen up your breath.

Oregano: If you use only one herb in your cooking, make it oregano. This potent herb (which some chefs think actually tastes better dried) contains, on average, up to 20 times more cancer-fighting antioxidants than other herbs.

Rosemary: Rosemary can also boost your performance on speed and accuracy tests, cooking meats with rosemary can reduce the cancer-causing compounds that form when cooking over high heat, like on a barbecue or grill.

Traditional dishes   facts about food   

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