10 Healing Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Stock
Did you know that when you’re adding flavor to your meals, you could be adding health benefits too? A variety of herbs and spices have healing properties and health benefits that sometimes go unnoticed. If you’re not already incorporating these ten ingredients into your cooking, you might want to start after reading this.
Commonly used in teas or candies, Ginger has a calming effect on your digestive system which can help relieve your stomach ache, motion sickness and alleviate nausea. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and is high in minerals like potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. Since you can use the root to cook with and eat, Ginger has a more substantial level of vitamins than other spices, vitamins like B6 and C. It can also help protect against stomach ulcers and treat menstrual cramps.
Cinnamon is a popularly used spice in anything from desserts to savory dishes. The best part? It’s chock full of antioxidants, which benefit both the body and brain. Like Ginger, cinnamon is also anti-inflammatory. It can fight bacteria and may lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon can also improve your skin and brain function. It may even block the growth of tumors and prevent cell mutation. Yes, this sweet spice is cancer-fighting!
This bright orange spice is usually used in curries and is a major fighter against inflammation. Turmeric has something called curcumin in it, an antioxidant that slows down inflammation-related diseases and processes (like Alzeimers or arthritis). In fact, turmeric is one of the most antioxidant-concentrated foods. That translates to benefits like increased immunity, improved heart health, and protection against cancer.
You might not know what cumin is, but you’ve most likely had it before in recipes like tacos and indian dishes. Cumin contains thymol in it, a component that aids in digestive health. Cumin also has high levels of iron, vitamin E and C. While vitamin E helps with healthy, glowing skin, vitamin C helps your immune system.
Garlic doesn’t just give you bad breath, it has health benefits too! When crushed or chopped, Garlic has a component called allicin in it, which keeps blood vessels flexible, helping to prevent heart disease. It can also help with high cholesterol and blood pressure.
This red chili pepper can add spicy flavor to many Southwest, Mexican, Creole and Cajun dishes. Did you know it can also provide pain relief? Cayenne has capsaicin in it, a compound that makes peppers spicy and reduces the number of pain signals sent to your brain. In return, you experience less discomfort. Capsaicin works on nerve damage pain on joints and muscles, caused by disorders like diabetes and arthritis. It also aids in restricting the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria. Cayenne pepper is also known to boost your metabolism.
Here’s an excuse to eat chocolate: cocoa beans are full of antioxidants called flavonoids, which can help boost heart health. They may play a role in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and keeping the arteries in your heart healthier.
Peppermint is known to help relieve an upset stomach and nausea. It’s minty smell may help lift your mood and sharpen your thinking. It can also reduce bloating and relax muscles in the colon, helping with symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). You can start by trying peppermint tea.
This fragrant herb commonly used in poultry dishes can help improve brain functions like concentration, clarity and memory. It may help prevent cognitive decline that comes with old age. Rosemary is rich in antioxidants like many other herbs and spices, helping to prevent cell damage. It contains multiple vitamins and is high in fiber.
Parsley is an herb loaded with health benefits. A half cup contains about 500% of the daily recommendation of vitamin K, a vitamin that helps blood clotting and bone metabolism. Parsley also contains iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A. Like many of the other herbs and spices listed above, parsley is rich in antioxidants which help protect cells. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal substance as well.
Next time you’re cooking, consider adding one of these herbs or spices into your dish. You’ll definitely add more flavor and enhance the color and aroma of your food, but more importantly, add additional health benefits to your meal.