Spices and herbs offer more than good aroma and flavor to your food. These boast numerous health benefits that serve as good reasons to encourage their use. Research has only now started to see the advantage, which is why these herbs and spices with health benefits are good to add to your diet.
Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and author of Healing Spices, says, “We’re now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of year.” These herbs and spices provide significant protection.
Furthermore, dietitian Monica Auslander Moreno tells, “Herbs and spices make food tastier while boosting your health.” “Food is an army,” adds Moreno, “Compounds from herbs and spices as well as the other foods you’re eating work together to provide health benefits. We don’t know if you get the same result from taking a single ingredient as a supplement.”
Here is a look at 9 herbs and spices with health benefits to include in your diet chart.
Ginger exhibits a prominent reputation for its anti-inflammatory properties that are held responsible for curbing arthritis pain. Research has dug into the inflammation-fighting compounds such as gingerols present in this spice. These are credited for assisting in fighting certain cancers as well as soothing sore muscles and the crippling ache that accompanies osteoarthritis.
A study highlights that participants who took ginger capsules for a time frame of 11 days reported 25% improvement in muscle pain, as they performed exercises that were designed for muscle straining. Research also highlights that ginger extract injections aided in osteoarthritis knee pain.
Ginger is also known for relieving nausea that is caused by morning sickness or in the aftermath of chemotherapy or surgery. However, it not as effective in treating nausea that is induced by motion sickness.
The wide pool of health merits of turmeric has remained in the headlines for most of the last year. It is still, however, not going anywhere from the trend train of foods trends of the present year. The golden spice is prominent for its healing role. It is often part and parcel of teas that are dedicated to relieving respiratory problems and colds.
Current research outlines the effectiveness of turmeric. Curcumin, a compound in turmeric is credited for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It plays a role in joint pain relief, and relieving pain that is chipped in by dental procedures and injuries. Curcumin is also being studied for its role in managing diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
Furthermore, the possible potential of this spice in the field of cancer treatment is also on the cards and is presently the subject matter of several studies that think that curcumin can inhibit the growth of tumor cell and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.
Sage is one of the healthiest herbs and spices to include in your diet for optimizing brain health and memory. The name comes from a Latin word, Salvere that translates into “to save.” The herb flaunts a strong repo for its healing properties that go back to the time of middle age. Sage has also played a role in preventing the plague.
Research highlights that sage is helpful in brushing up cognitive functioning and memory, specifically, in the case of patients of Alzheimer’s. This neurodegenerative disease corresponds with a drop in the acetylcholine levels. This is a chemical messenger in the brain, which enhances brain cells connectivity. Sage inhibits the breakdown of this chemical messenger.
A study indicates that its participants who had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were able to show profound improvement in their cognitive performance with the use of sage extract. Sage can also improve the memory function in healthy individuals.
Dieticians recommend sprinkling a dash of cinnamon on your morning drink to kick-start your circulatory system and regulate blood sugar levels for the day. Cinnamon also provides a dose of antioxidants that fight free radical damage.
Studies claim that cinnamon helps reduce inflammation, lessen the free radical damage, and fight bacteria. It is also held accountable for protecting against health conditions of the brain and nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease.
The antioxidant content of this spice is one of the highest among the spices. Moreno explains, “Cinnamon is great because it’s sweet but very low in calories and sugar-free. Plus, it’s easy to find and not expensive, and you can add it to almost anything, including coffee and tea.”
Parsley is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse. Studies reveal that this herb has the potential to inhibit breast cancer cell growth. Research has shown that apigenin, a compound that is present in parsley in abundance improves the resistance to developing carcinogenic tumors.
This herb is also known for its role in aiding smooth digestion and facilitating relief from bloating. Moreover, parsley also boasts anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Experts recommend including a pinch of minced parsley in your daily diet.
An extensive list of all the symptoms and disorders that can be put to rest with the aid of parsley include bloating, gas, acid reflux, constipation, anemia, inflammation, skin problems, improved resistance of the immune system, and bad breath as well.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices. It has been used in Persian cuisine for a long time now for adding flavor and color to the dishes. Persian medicine also makes use of this spice as a mood lifter.
Researchers indicate that saffron is known for its role in curbing the symptoms of PMS. It also plays a critical role in keeping depression at bay and lifts your mood too. A study further outlines that 75% of women who suffer from PMS were able to report an improvement in their conditions of depression and mood swings by using saffron capsules.
Another study with a participant pool of 40 depressed individuals showed that those who took saffron were able to cut their depression. It concluded that this spice is helpful in treating mild to moderate depression in patients.
Garlic is characterized by its potent smell and distinct flavor. It falls among herbs and spice with health benefits that have been used for centuries now. In particular, it is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that fight free radical damage and curb the harmful impact of inflammation.
Garlic is known for fighting common colds, infections, heart diseases, and cancer as well. Recent research points out that garlic can help reduce high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Studies also indicate that garlic therapy has a potential role in cutting the risk of heart diseases.
On top of all this, garlic exhibits anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties. Resultantly, garlic is able to fight infections and improve immunity. Also, you can lower your risk of heart diseases by including garlic to your meal plans.
Holy Basil is a prominent herb in India, where it is given a sacred position. This herb is known for a range of health merits. Primarily, the herb is known for inhibiting the growth of yeast, molds, and bacteria.
A study has shown that it enhances the functioning of the immune system. It does so by increasing immune cells in the blood. Holy basil also correlates with reduced levels of sugar in the blood both before and after meal times.
The herb also includes treatment of anxiety and related depression in its portfolio. More research is being conducted to prove the health benefits of this herb.
Cayenne pepper has a reputation for giving spicy twists to meals. Medically, the vitamin-A enriched spice is known for improving digestion, boosting blood circulation, and fighting inflammation.
The active component of this spice is capsaicin that helps reduce appetite. It also works to promote fat burning, therefore, helping lose the extra pounds. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper gets a preference in numerus weight loss supplements. Research has found that people who add 1 gram of this pepper to their meals are able to enhance natural fat melting and experience a decline in their appetite.
However, the research also claimed that those who already consumed spicy food were unable to feel any advantages, as a tolerance to spicy food builds up. Certain studies also indicate that capsaicin can help combat some cancers including that of prostate, liver, and lung.
All in all, it is essential to include the herbs and spices with health benefits in your diet plan. They provide the necessary protection against a wide range of health ailments and also curtail inflammation. Simultaneously, these are able to strengthene the immune system, which boosts your ability to resist infections.
Moreover, all of these herbs are not only time-tested but are also backed by science. There are numerous recipes that welcome the use of these herbs and spices. In addition to these vital ingredients, other herbs and spices to include in your meal plan are rosemary, chile pepper, cumin, peppermint, and fenugreek to name a few.