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Spice Up Your Life

April 5, 2016

There was a time when most of us thought that spices were just for making curries and various ethnic foods but today we know that many of these spices contain within them amazing compounds and elements that can rejuvenate and heal our bodies.  Read on to see how many of the spices that you probably have lying around in cupboard can help you reach your health goals.

 

TURMERIC

Rich in antioxidants (which prevent damage to our cells)  this spice is a star performer!   Researchers are closely studying this spice for its possibly significant benefits in the fight against cancer and many inflammatory and auto-immune conditions. Studies show that it may help prevent Alzheimer's disease as well.  When we were little (and even to this day)  my Mum concocts a delicious turmeric drink whenever I have a niggling cough with a little turmeric powder, honey and warm milk which you sip it down - it gets all the congestion right out!  Turmeric, jaggery and hot water is also very popular drink for many respiratory problems and works a treat to clear the infection asap.

 

CHILLI

Well documented for its many health benefits including regulating  insulin levels in the body, boosting the body's metabolism and for its general health giving benefits due to the compound capsaicin,  numerous  antioxidants and carotenoids (which give it its bright red color) that it contains. 

 

CUMIN

This is a humble spice with amazing properties.  It contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties which can help fight the flu by boosting your immune system.  It is also extremely beneficial for digestion, digestive disorders and numerous skin conditions as well.  Cumin helps control stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea, piles, nausea and morning sickness. It is also excellent for those with anemia as it's very high in iron.  It is also surprisingly high is calcium and also helps encourage lactation in new mothers.

 

GARLIC

Garlic is an amazing herb.  It is being studied for it's ability to destroy cancer cells and experts suggest that one to two cloves weekly can provide cancer protective benefits.   Many studies suggest it is as potent a bacteria killer as pharmaceutical antibiotics without the worry of the body building up a tolerance to it.  It also has anti-fungal properties.  I often carry garlic capsules with me in case I am not sure how the food was prepared and I don't want to deal with a nasty case of food poisoning for days after.  I swear it works!   As a singer I also take garlic in combination with vitamin C and horseradish capsules to keep respiratory problems at bay and it is also very good at warding off or reducing the length of a cold or sore throat.  

 

GINGER

For thousands of years, ginger has been used for the treatment of innumerable ailments due to its powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-emetic properties. It helps to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain in the body.  It also calming on the digestive system  and has the ability to break up and expel intestinal gas. It is also high in  antioxidant activity and again lke ginger seems to have anti-cancer properties.  Ginger is also useful for suppressing allergic reactions.

 

CORIANDER SEEDS

 Coriander seeds are wonderfully aromatic.  They  contain many compounds have anti-oxidant and disease preventing, properties.  These seeds contain important fatty acids and essential oils that act together to ease digestive disturbances.  They are also rich in fiber and help ease constipation.  The fiber also helps to lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of coriander helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.  They also contain a number of essential minerals including iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium and they are also high in vitamin C and B vitamins.

 

FENUGREEK

These seeds (which are usually ground into a powder for cooking) are a rich source of minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and soluble dietary fiber.  Again fenugreek seeds have a multitude of compounds which help to lower blood LDL-cholesterol and help to protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.  The fiber also assists in digestion and relieves constipation.  Fenugreek is also popularly used to control blood sugar levels and increase lactation in nursing mothers.  This herb is also rich in copper, potassium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, magnesium and a range of vitamins.  Including thiamine, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and vitamin C.

 

 

So try to incorporate these amazing spices and herbs into your diet and next time you eat a curry dig in and enjoy their amazing health benefits!

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