Do you have a passion for cooking like me? I hope so. But this is not just about passion for cooking, it is about natural health. In a world where food is being engineered each new day, we have to be cautious about what we eat and even more so, the kind of spices we use in our foods. Am sure you like a bit of spice in your food or maybe like me, you love a lot of it, but just what spice contains what? How do these spices contribute to your health? Well here are the Top 10 best and Most Nutritious Spices
Cardamom is a widely used spice especially in Indian Cuisine. They love it for hot and chilly dishes. It exists inside a pod containing black seeds. Cardamom tea is a widely used beverage in India, alongside ginger tea. To begin with cardamom has a number of nutritional qualities.
According to the US Department of Agriculture and the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 100 games of cardamom contain the following; energy (300 kcal), carbohydrates (68 g), protein (11 g), dietary fiber, (28 g) and no cholesterol (0mg).
Cardamom also contains a number of vitamins such as; pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin A and Vitamin C and micronutrients such as, potassium, zinc, copper, sodium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, manganese and calcium.
According to the National Institute of cancer in Kolkata India, dietary cardamom can reduce likelihood of developing colon and rectal cancer by around 48%. It also protects the health of your heart; because it contains micronutrients that are able to counter the surge of lipids in the body.
This lowers the risk of developing hypertension and other heart conditions. Cardamom contains antioxidant enzymes that are able to counter bad cholesterol in your body also helping to bring down the risk of developing cancers. It also has antidepressant characteristic.
Cardamom is one of the essential oils that is used in aromatherapy. Cardamom also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Cardamoms also improve the circulation of blood, detoxify the body and improve dental health.
9. Black pepper
Black pepper is the fruit obtained from the black pepper plant. It is called the king of spices in some quarters. A pinch of black pepper adds a great amount of flavor to your food. What are the nutritional facts about black pepper? It contains a number of vitamins and micronutrients.
These include Vitamin C, Vitamin K, riboflavin and Vitamin B6. Micronutrients found in black pepper include, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Black pepper also has a considerable amount of carbohydrates and proteins as well as dietary fiber.
Black pepper ingestion stimulates release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach helping avoid diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and colic. It helps in preventing formation of stomach gas and helps in repelling out the same. Black pepper breaks down fat cells helping improve weight loss.
It also helps combat vertigo- a skin disease. Black pepper also provides respiratory relief and has antibacterial properties helping the body fight infections and insect bites. It also has antioxidants which help repair damage caused by free radicals.
Black pepper also improves cognitive function, treats peptic ulcers and enhances overall bioavailability of food in our systems. Black pepper also has expectorant like properties which makes it good for treating asthma.
Cumin is a widely used spice in the Subcontinent of India, most Asian countries, Latin America and certain parts of Africa. It contains several vitamins that are vital to the body; these include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin and Vitamin B6.
Other micronutrients also found in cumin include manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and calcium and potassium. Cumin contains cumin aldehyde which helps activate salivary glands enhancing digestion. It is carminative-it helps to reduce stomach gas.
Cumin acts as a natural laxative in its powder form thanks to its carminative ability and dietary fiber. It helps to fight constipation. Dietary cumin also helps in the healing of infections within the gastrointestinal tract and the excretory system.
Cumin also has powerful abilities of combating hypoglycemia- as such it helps prevent diabetes. Proper dietary consumption of Vitamin B complex which is plenty in cumin also helps to ensure a good night’s sleep- this reduces insomnia.
Cumin also helps treat asthma and bronchitis since it has expectorant properties. It also helps fight common cold- it is rich in iron and vitamin C which boosts the immune system. Cumin is recommended for lactating mothers; it helps improve lactation.
With more than more than 900 mg per 100 grams, it helps in the secretion of milk in lactating mothers. It treats anemia, improves cognitive function and prevents cancer. Overall it boosts immunity.
Garlic is a spice that is loved by many as a food additive for dishes and soups. It contains minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron. It also contains trace minerals such as iodine, sulfur and chlorine. Garlic is one of the rare sources of organic compounds such as allicin and kallistatin 1 and 2.
Daily dose of garlic helps improve your digestion. Thanks to the allicin rich in garlic, it effectively prevents LDL cholesterol (bad Cholesterol) from oxidizing- this helps to reduce the chance of developing cancer. Garlic is an herbal ingredient in the treatment of high blood pressure.
When exposed to high levels of pressure bacilli present in the garlic helps to relax blood vessels. Garlic also helps in the improvement of the health of the eye. Selenium and Vitamin C and quercetin are ingredients found in garlic which help treat infections of the eye such as swelling.
Garlic also has ingredients that help to calm earaches. It helps to calm problems of the intestines such as diarrheas, dysentery and colitis. Garlic is widely used in the treatment of common cold and flu. When used alongside ingredients such as honey and turmeric, garlic can help treat acne stars. It might please you to know that garlic also increase libido.
Tumeric is the spice that is responsible for the yellow color of curry. It is a peppery spice used for many cuisines. Turmeric derives its yellow color from a chemical called curcumin. Curcumin is one of the natural anti-inflammatory chemicals. As such can help fight invading micro-organisms and also help repair damaged cells.
It has also been shown to have potential to increase the antioxidant potential of the body. Antioxidants are important in the body because they help us to remove free radicals. Free radicals are associated with cell damage, aging and development of cancer.
Curcumin also improves the brain function. It helps in the formation of brain-derived neurotrophic factors which are vital for brain function. Several brain disorders are associated with low levels of the said hormone. As such dietary intake of turmeric curcumin also helps to lower the risk of brain disorders.
Curcumin also has a number of health benefits that result in a reduced risk of heart disease. This is majorly attributable to the fact that curcumin improves the function of the endothelium which is the lining of blood vessels. This is because malfunctions in the endothelium are what drives most heart diseases.
Turmeric also helps reduce the risk of developing cancers. In fact dietary intake of turmeric may prevent altogether the initiation of colon and rectal cancers. It is also complimentary in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Gingerol is the bio-active ingredient in the spice called ginger. Ginger can combat many conditions like morning sickness and nausea. It also helps to relieve you from post-surgery vomiting, pregnancy-related nausea, and vomiting. Garlic also helps to relieve from pain in the muscles and joints.
It may not be effective immediately in the elimination of muscle pain but it will have a progressive impact on the pain. This is thanks to the anti-inflammatory benefits of the active ingredients in ginger. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger it is very good at treating osteoarthritis.
Ginger has ability to drastically reduce the probability of developing heart disease. Also it helps to lower the levels of sugar in the blood. This way ginger is a powerful anti-diabetic. Studies on the impact of ginger on the levels of blood sugar on diabetic patients have yielded very impressive results.
Ginger helps to prevent chronic indigestion-also called dyspepsia. For those who experience menstrual pain, ginger has potential to significantly reduce that. Ginger also lowers the risk of developing heart diseases- which usually results from high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Everyday intake of ginger greatly reduces that amount of bad cholesterol in the body. Ginger also contains substances that help to prevent cancer.
Thyme is an evergreen shrub that is native to the Mediterranean. It has powerful antifungal properties. This is thanks to the bioactive compound called thymol. Thymol has the ability to reduce the strain on the immune system by boosting its ability to combat viral and fungal infections.
Thyme is one of the most abundant natural sources of antioxidants. It contains antioxidants such as lutein, thymonin and zeaxanthin which are effective at removing free radicals from the cells. Free radicals are the major cause of cell damage and cancers.
By so doing, thyme’s antioxidants help to reduce oxidative stress in the body. Thyme also has high level of iron and a number of essential mineral. Because of the abundance of iron, thyme helps stimulate the production of red blood cells- enhancing circulation of blood and oxygenation.
Thyme also has a number of health benefits that working together protects from heart conditions thanks to its rich supply of mineral, antioxidant and vitamins. It supplies potassium which is a powerful vasodilator. It helps to reduce the stress on the circulatory system, helping to relax blood vessels and lowering the blood pressure.
Thyme also has abundant supply of Vitamin A and carotenoids which greatly improve vision and health of the eye. Vitamin C from thyme boosts the immune system. Thyme also remedies respiratory diseases and reduces stress.
Cinnamon is loaded with plenty of antioxidants such flavonoids, phenolic acid and polyphenols. These can eliminate free radicals which are responsible for cell damage and aging. Cinnamon is the most abundant source of antioxidants among all the spices.
Flavonoid compounds are also very good at countering inflammation. This enables cinnamon to reduce pain and swelling, soreness and severe allergic reactions. Cinnamon also helps to combat a number of risk factor associated with the development of heart related conditions.
It contains bioactive compounds which reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body thereby greatly reducing chances of developing hypertension. Cinnamon also lowers levels of blood sugar (anti-diabetic), and can improve sensitivity to insulin.
This spice protects brain function and lowers risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease thanks to its antioxidants. Cinnamon also helps protect against cancer. It has a bioactive chemical called cinnamaldehyde which has potential to inhibit tumor growth.
Cinnamon also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This is found in cinnamon oils. Cinnamon is a natural remedy for bad breath and promotes dental health. Thanks to its powerful antifungal properties cinnamon can help treat candida, which causes candidiasis.
Topical application of cinnamon greatly improves skin health since it fights inflammation, soreness and redness. It also fights skin allergies.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne is a strong booster of metabolism. It has inducers that increase the level of metabolism in the body improving heat production while also helping to burn more calories. At the same time cayenne pepper helps to reduce hunger.
This helps you to eat only when you need food and can also help to reduce undesired weight. Although conclusive research is yet to be published, preliminary analysis reveal a great potential of reducing blood pressure too. Cayenne pepper boosts digestion and helps protect the stomach from infections.
This food spice can be a good pain reliever- it helps to reduce the levels of substance P- which is a transmitter of pain signals to the brain. Cayenne also has ability to relieve from psoriasis an autoimmune disease with no cure.
These kind of pepper has also been demonstrated to have potential to intercept cancer pathways in several ways. Dietary intake of Cayenne is recommended for your general health, but too much it at once can cause stomach pain.
Rosemary makes it to the top of this list as the spice with the highest number of health benefits. It has for a long time been used to boost cognitive memory. It also helps to improve focus and intellect. Rosemary stimulates cognitive activity among the elderly and those with cognitive disorders too.
Rosemary is also a powerful stress reliever. It has a powerful aroma which clears the mind, boosts the mood and is good for those with anxiety, stress and hormonal imbalances. Rosemary also possesses bioactive compounds which have anti-inflammatory potential.
Rosemary also provides some antioxidants such as metallic acid, rosmarinic acid, and carnosol which provide a second line of defense after the immune system of the body. It is also a powerful agent against bacterial infections. It is particularly very good for microbes that infect the stomach such as H. pylori which causes stomach ulcers.
Additionally, it helps to soothe the stomach and relieves constipation and stomach upsets. Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, rosemary is a good natural breath freshener. Rosemary stimulates the body enhancing blood flow and overall metabolic activity as well.
It is also an analgesic- it relieves pain. This is why it is used to treat a migraine. Rosemary contains several anti-inflammatory compounds- it has potential against inflammation and swelling. Given that rosemary is a diuretic substance, it can remove toxins from the body. This makes it a natural detoxifier. Rosemary is also good for the skin.
The food that we eat in this day and age is very different from what it was in the past. Each new day, food is being engineered to become less and less nutritious and more harmful to the body. Those who are in the know are joining what is now famously called “The Natural Health Revolution.” You can be part of it today. Quit using those artificial food additives whose real components and ingredients you cannot ascertain. The purest form of these spices is in the natural plants themselves.