As anyone who cooks knows, adding herbs and spices to food gives it much more flavor. Using the right herbs and spices can turn an ordinary tasting dish into something extraordinary. However, there is more to using those herbs and spices than simply enhancing the taste of the meals you cook. Many herbs and spices have properties that can actually improve your health. Here are 7 herbs and spices that may have unexpected health benefits for you and your family.
1. Crushed Red Pepper – Crushed red pepper is used in a number of savory dishes from that firehouse chili to BBQ sauces, to a number of meat dishes. Crushed red pepper is normally a combination of various dried peppers including; bell, jalapeno, and cayenne. Crushed red pepper contains Capsaicin, which is what puts the heat in the pepper. Capsaicin is known to help increase metabolic rate which can help maintain your weight or even help you diet more successfully. In addition, dried red pepper is believed to lower your risk for certain types of cancer, specifically skin and colon cancer.
2. Cumin – Cumin also known as Jeera is a Mediterranean spice that adds an earthy taste to a number of dishes. This spice tastes wonderful both as a rub on meats and in desserts and other baked foods. Cumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties, which make it an ideal spice to include as a part of healthy diet. Cumin is known to boost the immune system and helps people fight colds and flu. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help reduce your risk for such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
3. Turmeric – Turmeric is a spice used in a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, a member of the ginger family. the active component of this spice is curcumin. Studies of Turmeric show that curcumin may help to prevent certain cancer cells from spreading. In addition, this spice has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it may help prevent cancer and reduce the risks of inflammatory related diseases. Just ¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric a day can lower blood glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which will reduce the risks for diabetes, and heart disease as well.
4. Sage – Sage is a savory spice that adds flavor to soups, stews, and casseroles. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce low level inflammation in the body. Sage also contains calcium, which can help to keep your bones healthy and it is also known to boost brain health, it improves memory and recall.
5. Garlic – Garlic is a well-known spice that can add flavor to any dish. Used in salads, meats and even vegetables. Garlic also has the ability to improve your health in a number of significant ways. Since garlic has both anti-bacterial and antiviral properties, it helps to reduce your risk of infections, colds and even the flu. In addition, garlic can help prevent food poisoning caused by E- coli. Garlic has also been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure, increasing the release of insulin. It helps to fight anemia by increasing iron metabolism. Garlic is also helpful in reducing the risk of heart attack, lowering bad cholesterol levels and combating allergies.
6. Oregano – Oregano is used in a number of Italian dishes. This spice adds flavor when used either fresh or dried. It also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals your body need to ensure optimum health. Oregano contains Vitamins, A, C, and K and essential minerals such as Iron, Manganese, and calcium. It is a good source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids and is known to help control cholesterol levels.
7. Cinnamon – Commonly used to add an earthy sweet flavor to desserts, cinnamon also has a number of health benefits as well. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood glucose levels, which is important in helping to control and prevent diabetes. It also helps to protect you from heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol levels and it has also proven effective against H. pylori bacteria, which cause ulcers.
There are many other herbs and spices that will help improve your health, but including these 7 in your daily diet can help you to live a longer and healthier life.