Healthy spices nutrition facts
Spice up your taste buds with healthy spices in your diet!
Spices not only just excites your taste buds but are composed of impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for our wellbeing. Spices have been in use as our food since centuries, and now become integral part of our life. Thanks to the European explorers, whose contributions in spreading them from their place of origin greatly help spices popular all over the world!
Spices are categorized botanically as follows:
- Leaves of aromatic plants: Examples include bay leaf, rosemary, thyme etc.
- Fruits or seeds: Examples include fennel, coriander, fenugreek, mustard and black pepper etc.
- Roots or bulbs: Examples include garlic, ginger etc.
Why Spices in our diet?
Spices contain impressive list of plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. They have been in use since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.
The components in the spices have been found to have anti-clotting action, prevent clogging of platelets in the blood vessels, thus helps easing blood flow, preventing stroke and coronary artery disease.
The active principles in the spices may increase the motility of the intestinal tract as well as increase the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal secretions.
Throat gargling with tepid thyme water can help relieve sore throat and bronchitis symptoms. Thyme is also being used as anti-septic mouthwash in the treatment of caries and gingivitis.
Decoction of certain healthy spices is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upset, and painful menstruation.
Spices are also known to have natural anti-helminthes (control worm infestation) function.
The essential volatile oils in spice functions as rubefacient (soothing of the skin at the site of application and expands the local blood vessels), increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer, making it a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, used either as a poultice or in hot baths.
Spices essential oils are being used in aromatherapy as well as de-odorants in the perfume industry.
Spices contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Culinary uses of spices
Spices can be aromatic or pungent in flavors and peppery or slightly bitter in taste. In order to keep their fragrance and flavor intact, they are generally added in the cooking recipes at the last moments since, prolonged cooking results in evaporation of essential oils.
Spices are being used in the preparation of season soups, barbecue sauces, pickling and as main ingredient in a variety of curry powders.
Spices along with some seasonal herbs are being used to enhance the flavor and taste of vegetable, chicken, fish and meat dishes.
- Some healthy spices like cloves, coriander... etc are also been used in flavor drinks.
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