Top ten spices and what they do
Unlike herbs that come from the leaves of plants, spices derive from the plant's roots, berries, seeds and bark. They add a kick of flavour as well as a host of health benefits to a meal thanks to their intense concentration of phytochemicals (plant chemicals), disease-preventing nutrients and other anti-microbial properties.
However not all spices were created equal, and they all offer different health benefits. Please read on to see how the top ten spices can benefit you.
A spice used traditionally in the Ayurvedic tradition, Turmeric:
- Acts as a natural anti-inflammatory
- Treats Skin conditions and pigmentation
- Strengthens bones
- Moisturizes the body
- Repairs stretch marks and scar tissue
- Stops diarrhea
- Increases general immunity
Turmeric is also a very powerful antioxidant. It can help prevent diseases such as cancer and slow the aging process by combating the free radicals, which cause damage to healthy cells in the body.
- Have a direct, positive effect on blood sugar, imperative to those with diabetes
- Be used to treat yeast infections resistant to common medications.
- Reduce the proliferation of Leukemia and lymphoma cells.
- Reduce pain associated with arthritis.
- Act as a natural food preservative as it inhibits the growth of natural food bacteria.
- Improve memory and cognitive function.
Cinnamon is also an excellent source of iron, calcium and manganese.
- Relieves indigestion, flatchulence, constipation and diarrhea.
- Has a high Iron content which helps resolves anemia.
- Relieves colic.
- May clear congestion and therefore be useful to respiratory disorders such as smokers cough or bronchitis.
- May be used to regulate menstruation by regulating hormonal activity in the body.
- Protects eyes from inflammation, macular degeneration and general irritation.
- May act as a diuretic helping the body eliminate toxic substances.
Chili contains capsaicin, a naturally occurring substance that give it its heat. Capsaicin is now recognized to:
- Treat osteoarthritis pain.
- Psoriasis pain.
- Reduce LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
- Reduce blood sugar levels.
- Reduce platelet aggregation.
- Increase the body's ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance required for blood clot formation.
- Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
- Protect blood fats from damage by free radicals.
- Clear congestion by stimulating the production of secretions used to clear mucous from the lungs, throat and nose.
- Boos overall general immunity.
- Protect against some cancers including prostate cancer.
- Assist in weight loss.
- Lower the risk of Type II Diabetes.
Cloves contain a significant amount of the active substance eugenol, which has been shown in many health studies to:
- Protect against toxicity from environmental pollutants such as Carbon tetrachloride
- Relive joint inflammation
- Act as a natural anesthetic and anti-bacterial agent in dentistry work.
Cloves are also an excellent source of manganese, calcium, Vitamin C, fibre, Omega 3 fatty acid and magnesium.
- Provides a substantial amount of Iron that support energy metabolism, increases general immunity and protects against conditions such as anemia.
- Aids digestion by stimulating pancreatic enzyme secretion that in turn assists in the breakdown of food.
- Carries anti-carcinogenic properties that may protect from some cancers.
7. Cayenne Pepper
Like chili, Cayenne peppers healing qualities derive from the capsaicin it contains. Please see the benefits listed under Chili.
- Relieves gastrointestinal problems such as motion sickness, nausea, vomiting.
- Relieves dizziness and cold sweats.
- Natural anti-inflammatory.
- Arthritis pain relief.
- Osteoarthritis pain relief.
- May protect against colorectal and Ovarian cancer.
- Boosts immunity
- Relieves stomach cramps and aches.
- Eliminates flatulence.
- Encourages appetite.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Stops diarrhea
- Detoxifies the body, particularly the liver.
- Enhances cognitive ability and stimulates dreams.
- Relieves joint and muscle pain and swelling.
- Helps respiratory conditions such as coughs and asthma.
- Encourages good blood circulation.
- Helps dissolve kidney stones as well as relieve kidney infections.
10. Mustard seeds
- Are protective against some cancers such as colorectal and gastrointestinal tract cancer.
- May reduce severity of asthma.
- Relives symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
- May lower blood pressure.
- Encourages healthy sleep patterns.
- Reduce frequency of migraine attacks.
Mustard seeds are also a very good source of Omega-3, Magnesium, Selenium, protein, niacin, zinc, calcium, iron and dietary fibre.
Printer Friendly Version
Related Modalities Dietitian Nutrition