Spices

Health Benefits of Spices

Whole spices have been an integral part of cuisine since several years. They not only add flavour to dishes but are also known for their medicinal properties. The health benefits of spices range from improving digestion to controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, help in fighting infections and provide relief from cold, cough. Cloves derive their health benefits from Eugenol, an antioxidant. It is the volatile oils of whole spices that give them the true flavour and health benefits. In the absence of these oils, spices might lack their authentic aroma and flavour. Hence, it is better to check the spice quality thoroughly before purchasing. There are a few tips to check the quality of spices as listed below:

Real organic cinnamon is tan brown in colour and has a distinct delicate smell.

Organic black pepper corns are uniform in colour and are not shiny. When pressed, they do not break away easily.

Best elaichi in India, looks plump and green in colour.

Benefits of cloves can be assured only when the cloves are oil rich, reddish brown and whole.

Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of four popular spices commonly used in various cuisines.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is highly beneficial in controlling diabetes. Certain compounds in cinnamon have insulin properties that can regulate blood sugar. Organic cinnamon is best because it is grown without pesticides or chemicals. Also, it retains antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties. Organic Cinnamon not only enhances the flavour of food but is also a powerful medicinal spice that supports gut health, protects against various infections and lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Black pepper

A pinch of black pepper can not only spice up a dish with a distinct taste, but it can also work as a medicine for various ailments. The presence of its compound Piperine makes it an anti-inflammatory agent and promotes overall health. In Ayurveda, black pepper is used with ghee to stimulate appetite. Black pepper is one of the best natural remedies for cold, cough. Taking one tablespoon of pure honey with 2 crushed organic black pepper pods eases sore throat and provides relief from cough as well. It is always better to use organic black pepper as it is chemical-free and retains essential oils rich in medicinal values.

Elaichi

The presence of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in elaichi help improve oral health. Western Ghats in South India are known for cultivating the best Elaichi in India. Elaichi improves health in more ways than one. Its astringent properties help in effectively fighting against bacteria. Known as the queen of spices, elaichi also helps control blood pressure, cold, flu and reduce hiccups and intestinal cramps. Elaichi enhances the flavour of sweets, tea and various culinary treats.

Cloves

There are several health benefits of cloves from easy digestion to regulating blood sugar. The presence of Eugenol in clove helps reduce stress, Parkinson’s disease and body aches. Consuming cloves along with lukewarm water at bed time helps relieve constipation, toothache, sore throat and sinus. The benefits of cloves also include stimulation of metabolism which helps lose weight, cure bad breath and reduce stress. Cloves can moderately be used in chutneys, curries, desserts, tea and health beverages.

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