There are numerous benefits of spices. Spices and herbs are in use both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Spices not only enhance the flavor, aroma, and color of food and beverages, but they can also protect from acute and chronic diseases.
As the counterpoint to the always-prevalent salt, black pepper is a flavorful spice that tastes good on most savory dishes in small doses. There are certain recipes, such as lemon-pepper pasta or fried chicken that can benefit from a healthier dash. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your cells. Some free radicals are created naturally — such as when you exercise and digest food.
However, excessive free radicals can be formed with exposure to things like pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun rays. Excess free radical damage may lead to major health problems. For example, it has been linked to inflammation, premature aging, heart diseases, and certain cancers.
Black pepper is rich in a plant compound called piperine, which test-tube studies have found to have potent antioxidant properties.
Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals. Test-tube and rodent studies have observed that ground black pepper and piperine supplements may reduce free radical damage. For instance, rats fed a high-fat diet plus either black pepper or a concentrated black pepper extract had significantly fewer markers of free radical damage in their cells after 10 weeks compared to rats fed a high-fat diet alone
Even if you choose to use fresh garlic on a regular basis, having garlic powder around can be beneficial too. It’s a great way to add some quick garlic flavor to a dish or you can use it to mix into your own spice blends Garlic is best known as a flavorful spice. However, throughout history, many different cultures have used garlic to prevent and treat different diseases.
Garlic powder benefits health thanks to its array of nutrients and varied beneficial bioactive compounds. Garlic powder has a very strong flavor, so most recipes use it in moderation. In general, you’ll find that most recipes that call for garlic powder use just a teaspoon or so. However, there are exceptions. For instance, our recipe for parmesan garlic fries goes heavy on the garlic powder, using 2 tablespoons of garlic as well as garlic salt.
Thyme is woodsy, lemony and mild. It is most often used as a flavor for meats and stews, but it can add some zing to vegetables as well. Thyme contains potent chemical compounds like thymol and carvacrol which are resistant to harmful organisms.
Studies have found that thyme promotes fungal balance. Some studies even show compounds found in thyme and oregano oil are helpful as part of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with some types of organisms that are particularly aggressive. Respiratory health is important, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Thyme supports normal respiratory health in every season. Studies show that thyme combined with primrose root helps soothe your airways and promote normal lung health.
While Cinnamon is probably best known as an additive to sweet dishes or on your morning toast, this spice can be an excellent addition to certain savory dishes as well. Use it in very small doses in chili, tomato sauces and other products. The vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds in cinnamon can provide important health benefits.
Cinnamon contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Potassium helps to counteract sodium’s effect on blood pressure and regulates the heart rate. Potassium is also involved in nerve function.
Magnesium and calcium work together to maintain a healthy heartbeat. These two minerals are essential for skeletal health, preventing the weakening of bones, a condition called osteporosis.
Nothing says Italian quite like Oregano does. A little dried oregano will give your tomato sauce a real Italian vibe. It can also be a pungent add in for Greek and Mexican dishes. Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight damage from harmful free radicals in the body.
The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. Several test-tube studies have found that oregano and oregano oil are high in antioxidants Oregano essential oil is especially high in carvacrol and thymol, two antioxidants that can help prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals In combination with other high-antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables, oregano could provide a hearty dose of antioxidants that may help improve your health. Oregano contains certain compounds that have potent antibacterial properties.
One test-tube study showed that oregano essential oil helped block the growth of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two strains of bacteria that can cause infection
Dried Rosemary is a must for French and Mediterranean cooking. It is earthy, woodsy and piney. Rosemary can be an acquired taste for some, but it does give your dishes a one-of-a-kind flavor that helps them stand out from the crowd. Because of its rich supply of antioxidants and bioactive chemicals (including phenolic diterpenes, such as carnosol and caffeoyl derivatives), consuming rosemary can help fight oxidative stress and support the immune system. It’s also known to promote healthy circulation and to defend against inflammation, which can lead to pain.
Another way that rosemary’s antioxidants can be very benefical is due to the ability to promote skin health by fighting free radical damage that leads to signs of aging. Like some other herbs in the mint family, rosemary’s smell is considered a “cognitive stimulant” and can help make you feel more awake and focused. Some studies have also shown that compounds within rosemary/rosemary oil have neuro-protective effects and the ability to improve memory and cognitive performance by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that contributes to good concentration and memory retention.
Another form of pepper, cayenne pepper has a definite kick. This spice is a great way to add heat to any dish Studies show that the active ingredient in cayenne pepper known as capsaicin may have anti-cancer properties. According to studies that capsaicin may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent new ones from forming. Specifically, the study found that cayenne pepper may be especially beneficial in helping prevent lung cancer in people who smoke or have smoked in the past. This is because the vast amounts of capsaicin found in cayenne can stop the formation of tumors in the lungs due to tobacco use. Another study indicated that similar results were noted in research that involved liver tumors and prostate cancer. While some people find that taking capsaicin in supplement form helps, you can also get the same benefits by adding it to dishes.
Cumin has a smoky, earthy taste. You’ll find this flavor is great for many ethnic dishes including Indian, African and South American. A gentle touch of cumin can add spice and flavor to unexpected dishes like eggs or grilled meats too. The most common traditional use of cumin is for indigestion.
In fact, modern research has confirmed cumin may help rev up normal digestion
For example, it may increase the activity of digestive enzymes, potentially speeding up digestion Cumin also increases the release of bile from the liver. Bile helps digest fats and certain nutrients in your gut
Cumin seeds are naturally rich in iron. One teaspoon of ground cumin contains 1.4 mg of iron, or 17.5% of the RDI for adults.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting up to 20% of the world’s population and up to 10 in 1,000 people in the wealthiest nations. In particular, children need iron to support growth and young women need iron to replace blood lost during menstruation.
Few foods are as iron-dense as cumin. This makes it a good iron source, even when used in small amounts as a seasoning.
Nutmeg works well in both sweet and savory dishes. It is a must for bechamel sauces and other cheese dishes. However, you’ll probably use it most often in sweet treats that contain cinnamon as well. Nutmeg is a diuretic in nature. This means that it can control the amount of salt and water released from your body in the form of urine. Therefore, improving kidney function. Nutmeg also has shown great functions when it comes to curing kidney stones. Its actions involve dissolving kidney stones and stopping their further formation of them.
The detoxifying action of nutmeg helps release toxins from the liver and kidney. When there are lesser toxins, all organs work better. Nutmeg comes from the seed of the Myristica fragrans tree. Indonesia produces the majority of the world’s nutmeg. The spice flavors many dishes, both savory and sweet, in cuisine across the globe.
It is sold either ground or in whole seeds. Both nutmeg butter and nutmeg essential oil are also widely available.
In addition to being delicious, nutmeg offers many health benefits. However, you should never consume more than is ordinarily used in food preparation. In large quantities, nutmeg can induce hallucinations. It is highly toxic and can even be fatal.
Nutmeg is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect against the signs of aging and serious conditions such as cancer, heart disaese and liver disease.
Nutmeg also may provide other health benefits such as:
Nutmeg oil is used in several dental products. The spice has antibacterial properties that have proven particularly effective against oral pathogens that cause disease and bad breath.
One study found that nutmeg acted as a potential antidepressant in male rats, and the spice has been used for its invigorating properties in folk medicine.
A little nutmeg has been shown to aid sleep, both in duration and quality. However, higher quality, human studies are needed to validate this effect.
While fairly tame compared to other pepper-based spices, paprika adds warmth and earthiness to a dish. You’ll find that there are many different versions, some with a smokier or “hotter” flavor than others.
While these are the ten “musts” for your spice cabinet, remember–this is only the beginning. Don’t be afraid to slowly expand your spice collection and add more flavors so you can enhance the overall taste and profile of everything you cook.
Plus, keep in mind that many spices offer additional benefits too. Notably, this small amount boasts almost 20% of your daily vitamin A needs.
This spice also contains a variety of antioxidants, which fight cell damage caused by reactive molecules called free radicals.
Free radical damage is linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. As such, eating antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent these conditions.
The main antioxidants in paprika belong to the carotenoid family and include beta carotene, capsanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein.