Spices hold amazing health benefits besides opening up a world of taste! These amazing ingredients actually shaped the history of the world as it is. Spices led the European navigators of the old world to cross oceans and come to the Indian subcontinent. The spice trade has always thrived through centuries since then! The spice you add to your mix is essentially an emblem of a continuous heritage of centuries.
1. Turmeric of the queen
In India, turmeric is totally the king of spices. Rarely do you find a spicy Indian dish that does not include turmeric to the mix! Besides imparting the traditional yellow color of the Indian curry, the powdered spice has many other health benefits, including anti-cancer properties.
Turmeric is kind of a blessing from Queen Nature, and it also has spiritual uses, especially in Bengali marriages. The bride readies for the wedding by applying turmeric paste! It is definitely healthy for the skin as it hosts anti-inflammatory properties. It is a great remedy for acne when applied topically. It offers prevention against Alzheimer’s, fights depression, and relieves arthritis pain.
2. The hot king chili pepper
If the soothing turmeric is Queen, then definitely the chili pepper is the King of Spices. In fact, chili pepper must be always used in much moderation because it is hot like hell! Many people cannot stand the heat, and it is perfectly okay!
For those who can, it is an amazing addition to heat up any meal. It consists of Capsaicin, which is a calorie burner (well, something should burn) and is very useful to get rid of unwanted fat from the body. Just keep it in your diet if you can. It is also antibacterial, an energy booster, and protects from cholesterol buildup.
3. The aromatic cardamom
Cardamom is a favorite spice in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It exudes a strong and pleasant aroma by virtue of the compound limonene. Adding a few seeds of cardamom to an appropriate rich dish makes it just a heavenly preparation. Research also shows it to boost antioxidant activity.
The aroma of cardamom also has a calming effect on the body as it reduces the blood pressure. It also improves digestion, and you will need the extra help for a spicy Indian curry or a plate of the famous Biryani. You can also add a cardamom to your cup of black coffee to soften its acidity. Cardamom is alkaline in composition.
4. The heady clove
Clove has such a heady aroma that a single small stick can flare up an entire spicy dish with a distinct taste. Chewing a clove stick has a dizzy and numbing effect, which is actually very beneficial when you have a toothache. It derives its properties from eugenol, an anti-inflammatory substance.
It is also a very potent antioxidant with anti-aging benefits. It is good for the heart and helps prevent cancer. It also heals the bone and cartilage damage caused by arthritis. Clove compounds also improve the insulin function of the body. Clove oil has been tested to be such a powerful antibacterial remedy that it even killed the germs that antibiotics could not!
5. The thick garlic
Among other aromatic spices, garlic has the thickest odor, which comes from a sulfuric compound called allicin. It is a miracle spice for heart diseases as research shows it to reduce the chance of cardiac arrest by up to 76%! It is also an antioxidant that thins the blood to dissipate the cholesterol clots.
In fact, garlic can reduce cholesterol levels up to 10%. It has powerful anti-cancer properties, active even in the DNA level. It is antifungal, antibacterial, and can be made into a good homemade remedy for common cold. The kick of garlic can deliver relief from sinus headaches, but it may not work for all necessarily. However, eat it in moderation because the odor can become a major confidence issue.
6. The healing ginger
Ginger paste is a very common spicy ingredient at dishes in the Indian subcontinent. It is an excellent digestive aid and is anti-inflammatory like most other spices. Again, ginger is good for nourishing the body to fight against cancer. It is a very potent remedy to alleviate the urge to vomit.
You can easily relieve your nausea and treat common cold with a refreshing cup of ginger tea. It boosts digestion and reduces the swelling of arthritis. It is also very effective to treat migraines as compounds in the ginger block the inflammatory substances such as prostaglandins. Pregnant women dealing with morning sickness can find great relief in ginger. In fact, it is better than common nausea drugs as it does not induce drowsiness.
7. The beautiful rosemary
Rosemary is as beautiful spice as its name is! It is an amazingly healthy ingredient to use when you are preparing meat. When you cook meat at a high temperature, it releases heterocyclic amines, which are the bad boy free radicals.
Marinating the meat in Rosemary before preparing the dish prevents the formation of free radicals. However, it is also a dangerous spice when you are pregnant. You should avoid using Rosemary because it may cause abortions. At other times, it can help increase the menstrual flow. It has multiple digestive benefits and is good for treating sciatica, intercostal neuralgia, myalgia, and muscle pain. It also carries anti-cancer benefits.
8. The medical mustard
Is there any spice that does not carry anti-cancer properties? Well, that itself is a matter of research! Mustard is also strongly anti-cancer with a host of other health benefits. It is an amazing traditional remedy to break chest congestion, used in chest plasters for topical application.
When used externally, mustard can actually lessen the pain of an inflamed area because of its unique ability to deplete ‘substance P’ from the nerve cells. Substance P is a neurotransmitter of pain signals. It kills athlete feet fungus and is a remedy for treating frozen fingers in a condition called Raynaud’s Phenomena. However, you should keep the use in moderation as it also has laxative and nauseating properties.
9. The mysterious nutmeg
Nutmeg consists of a compound called Myristicin, which induces hallucinatory effects when taken in large amounts. It can induce a mysterious ecstasy, but you should be very careful because the excess of it can also cause poisoning. This euphoric seed of a tree has been shown to inhibit a certain enzyme that aggravates the Alzheimer’s disease.
It has also been shown to improve memory in laboratory conditions. Currently, research is in progress to evaluate its properties as an antidepressant. It has very potent antibacterial properties, especially for killing the germs in the mouth. The covering of the seed, mace, also has antibacterial properties and used as a separate spice. It also has eugenol, that has beneficial effects for the heart.
10. The wise sage
Sage is a pleasant memory booster and is very effective against neurological ailments such as Alzheimer’s. Sage oil has been shown to improve alertness and concentration. Okay, it is a herb and not a spice, but the application of herbs and spices in a dish are similar.
Like almost all other spices, sage also holds anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties. It consists of the phytochemical thujone, which is used in the drink absinthe. It was the favorite drink of French artist Vincent Van Gogh, and you may think sage was the secret ingredient behind his creativity! It is very potent in the case of diabetes as it boosts insulin action and reduces blood sugar levels.