A few posts back I talked about pepper, a great spice that really perks up both our taste buds and our health. Here are four more popular herbs and spices that never fail to jazz up a dish while boosting our bodies in more ways than one.
Originating in Asia, ginger is a popular spice that is often used in a lot of Asian dishes, particularly in desserts, sushi, meat, and tea. Its known health benefits include controlling nausea, stimulating blood flow, relieving pain, and fighting heart disease and arthritis. It is also good for digestion as it helps break down high fat foods and proteins. Furthermore, it has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content that can help reduce chance of cardiovascular diseases and other sickness.
Cinnamon is another popular spice that is more popular for its use in desserts like cappuccinos. It comes from the dried brown bark of the cinnamon tree and has over 100 varieties. Cinnamon is often offered in ground and in sticks and is known for its fragrant and somewhat sweet spice. It is used to spice up various global dishes and sweets.
In China, cinnamon has often been combined with tea and ginger to fight flu and colds. Studies have shown a lot of benefits of the smell and oil of the cinnamon, which can relieve drowsiness, migraines, pain, and menstrual cramps. Cinnamon can also prevent clumping of blood platelets with its anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that it can even help control blood sugar, perfect for diabetics.
Turmeric is the main ingredient and spice in curry powder. Since Indian and curry foods took the world by storm, turmeric widely rose in popularity as well. Turmeric has a slightly bitter and spicy taste and is often used to enhance the flavor of chicken, rice, and meat curry dishes. Turmeric powder can be added to various sauces, salad dressings, salads, and more. It is what gives curries and mustard a yellow color.
Beyond its flavoring component, turmeric became more important when Asians discovered its medicinal properties which the Westerners consequently learned as well. Among the said benefits of turmeric are its high concentrations of antioxidant, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which can combat tumor growth, leukemia, liver deterioration, indigestion, ulcers, diarrhea, Alzheimer’s disease, gallstones, and even cancer. Turmeric contains various nutrients like calcium, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, potassium and manganese.
Capsicum is a common spice used to flavor meats and dishes in Mexican, Asian, and South American cuisines. It is known to add a lot of heat to food through its ground form which is paprika. Capsicum has been found to have a lot antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can combat free radicals that damage cells, reduce joint paints and blood pressure, and promote overall health. Capsicum is also a great source of beta carotene and Vitamin A.
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