By Amit MehtaNutrition

A guide to herbs and spices

Nothing completes a dish like adding just the right combination of herbs & spices. They can transform dull, bland food into a delicious dish, but many also come with some unexpected health benefits.  They help in the faster healing of wounds, act as nutritional supplements, and also deliver a host of benefits. So get out your spice rack, we’re about to take a tour of a few of the world’s healthiest herbs and spices.

Turmeric is one of the primary ingredients in yellow curry and a member of the ginger family. One tablespoon of turmeric provides valuable manganese, iron, potassium and vitamin C. A staple of traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, this spice also helps with digestion. But that’s just the tip of the spice-berg. Curcumin, an active substance in turmeric, is anti-inflammatory, which promotes heart health, and could help ward off cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Pepper is the world’s most popular spice; a berry grown in grapelike clusters on the pepper plant. The berry is processed to produce three basic types of pepper: black, white, and green. Black is the strongest flavour of the three. Black pepper has expectorant properties that help reduce symptoms associated with cough and other respiratory issues. It is rich in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory, which helps soothe peptic ulcers. It also contains a compound called piperine, which is very beneficial for people suffering from depression. It also helps improves brain functions and helps enhance memory.

Flaxseed has become very popular in recent years for many reasons, primarily related to its ability to provide individuals on a plant-based diet with a relatively large quantity of omega-3 ALA. Flaxseed is incredibly high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. It is high in manganese, an essential mineral for bone and blood health. Flaxseed is also abundant in antioxidant agents. The Lignans are antioxidant themselves, but a variety of other compounds in flaxseed have similar effects, making them a great food for the maintenance of health and general cancer protection – especially among those who perform intense, prolonged exercise such as long-distance running.

Triphala has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times as a multi-purpose treatment for symptoms ranging from stomach ailments to dental cavities. It is also believed to promote longevity and overall health. Triphala is a powerful herbal remedy that consists of Haritaki, Bibhitaki and amla.

Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is known as queen of all herbs. It is supposed to be the nectar of god Indra, that’s why, it is considered Amrita (pious liquid or nectar). It is used in the treatment and curing of many diseases and known as panacea for all the diseases and disorders. Giloy is also useful in the promotion and restoration of health and make you ready for holistic well-being. If suffering from Dengue, it is useful in Dengue helping increase platelet count. Additionally, it has many other unknown health benefits and uses.

Not only are herbs and spices delicious, but adding them into your cooking replaces the need to add excess salt. Herbs are, in fact, natural medicines in smaller dosages. You can also check out our Super Masala Mix, which features some of these herbs & spices mentioned.

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