Health Benefits of Spices
Doctors and nutritionists agree that the spice rack in your kitchen can also serve as a part of your medicine cupboard. Research shows that the spices we use in our daily cooking can greatly help us in the treatment and prevention of different illnesses which may range from the common cold to cancer.
Here are just a few herbs and spices and some of their specific benefits.
Have you ever wondered why India has a lower rate of cancer compared to other countries? This is due partly to the fact that curcumin is part of their normal daily diet. Researchers have found that curcumin has the ability to identify normal cells and cancerous cells, then act to induce apoptosis that forces the cancer cells to self-destruct. That certainly makes curcumin a beneficial spice to add to your cooking.
Ginger has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years in treating nausea. The anti-nausea properties found in ginger are said to have the capability to turn off the nerve receptors which triggers the vomiting.
Pregnant women who were asked to take 1 gram of ginger daily for four days were found to experience more relief from morning sickness and vomiting, compared to those women who only took a placebo.
Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil for treating different respiratory disorders.
Boil some basil leaves in 2 quarts of water mixed with honey and ginger. Let it boil until only about one half of the water remains. Allow it to settle first before drinking. Drink the same mixture when treating bronchitis, coughs, asthma, influenza and colds.
Basil leaves have cinnamanic acid that helps improve breathing and enhance blood circulation and is helpful for people suffering from respiratory disorders.
Rosemary contains carnosic acid which is known to be beneficial for the brain. This particular acid helps protect the brain from free radical damage. Although much research is still needed to completely understand the full benefits of carnosic acid for the brain, initial findings show that carnosic acid plays a role in protecting the hippocampus from beta-amyloid accumulation.
Beta-amyloid refers to toxic protein fragments which if left in the brain to accumulate can lead to plaques that may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Garlic contains active compounds which have a unique way of affecting the smooth muscles located in the arteries. Garlic reduces blood pressure levels by helping the arteries to relax and dilate. In addition, researchers have also confirmed that garlic is more effective than many mainstream pharmaceutical antibiotics when it comes to fighting against bacteria that cause many stomach-related illnesses.
Nutmeg contains eugenol which is a compound that benefits the heart. It is also known to contain many vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese, potassium and B complex vitamins. However, nutmeg is more popular for its brain tonic compounds which make it beneficial for people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and also for those people who want to improve their concentration.
So the next time you add some spice to your favorite dish, don’t just consider its taste or aroma. Think about how each spice can boost your health and know that this is one important step towards mindful eating.