Spices are a powerful yet often overlooked component in cooking. Trained chefs, as well as skilled novices, know how important the inclusion of the proper mixture of spices is to preparing the prefect dish.
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Few people, however, pause to consider the health impact that the addition of these pinches and tablespoons may have. Spices do so much more than just flavor foods. Some of them may actually benefit your health.
When you next debate including a little extra seasoning, consider the health benefits that these spices may have before making the decision to skimp.
When most people think of cinnamon, their mind fills with images of gooey rolls or hot-from-the-oven pastries. It might surprise you to learn that the use of cinnamon is actually tied to reduced rates of diabetes.
Studies have shown that cinnamon consumption aids in blood sugar management, potentially reducing the likelihood of the development of type II diabetes. This diabetes-reduction benefit also makes cinnamon beneficial to your heart, as chronically high blood sugar has a negative impact on your circulatory system as a whole.
A pantry staple for most, leafy oregano provides many of the benefits you typically associate with greens. This flavorful addition packs a vitamin rich punch. One teaspoon of oregano actually contains the same amount of healthful antioxidants as three cups of spinach.
Though research is still ongoing, some researchers have found evidence that indicates that oregano may also help prevent (or at least reduce the severity of) stomach flus as oregano can make it more difficult for flu-causing bacteria to multiply.
Popular in Indian cooking, turmeric is a pungent spice that contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound that is rich in antioxidants. Consumption of this compound has been tied to a reduction in medical maladies ranging from acne to stroke.
Because turmeric is the only readily available consumable source of curcumin, adding this spice to foods is the easiest way to reap the benefits of curcumin consumption.
4. Fennel Seed
Women of the world, rejoice. The best way to ease your menstrual cramps may be as simple as enjoying fennel. Fennel is rich in the anti-inflammatory anethole. It is this oil that gives fennel seeds their licorice-like flavor.
In addition to this valuable element, fennel also contains a host of estrogen-like compounds, including phytoestrogens. When these elements combine they provide a natural and effective remedy to the severe cramping that commonly accompanies a menstrual pain. When pitted against an NSAID anti-inflammatory drug in a “Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics” study, researchers found that fennel outperformed the provided pill.
Sister to Cilantro, which comes from the same plant, nutty coriander offers benefits that its sibling does not. This spice contains linalool and geranyl acetate. Both of these components are powerful antioxidants that make coriander a veritable miracle worker when it comes to aiding digestive illnesses.
In a “Digesting Diseases and Sciences” report, gastroenterologists found that patients provided with coriander supplements reported 3 times fewer issues than patients in a control group who were given a placebo.
The concept of ginger as a medicinal herb is hardly new. You’ve likely sipped a ginger ale when you had a stomach ache or perhaps even sucked on a ginger lozenge when your throat was a touch sore.
This distinctive spice has been a staple in the bags of traditional healers (and doctor moms) for centuries. In studies on the benefits of ginger, researchers at the University of Michigan, in partnership with researchers at National Yang-Ming University, found that ginger consumption limited the lease of vasopressin, a hormone that leads to nausea, and, in doing so, prevented or reduce nausea.