Spices and herbs with health benefits
The powerful benefits of turmeric, ginger, garlic, rosemary and cinnamon
Almost all spices and herbs have one or more beneficial properties and their use and regular consumption is therefore absolutely recommended. In this article we want to focus on spices that stand out most for their healthy effects and that are even more to learn to use and integrate into our daily diet. For some cultures spices are not only a food to improve the taste of dishes, but they are considered real drugs, to be used mainly as a preventive measure against numerous diseases. Let's see what are the most important, what properties they have and even some small tips to make the best use of them in the kitchen.
Turmeric is a spice that has been talked about a lot in recent years, precisely because of its renowned qualities. It has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and antioxidant properties which make it suitable for protecting the body and strengthening the immune system. They say it is portentous in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. You have probably heard of curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric, but there are no studies that confirm the real effectiveness of this substance in humans. In any case, using it certainly doesn't hurt, and its pleasant and delicate taste goes well with a wide variety of dishes. Someone recommends drinking golden milk every day (ie milk, cow or vegetable, with added turmeric to color it, as the name suggests). If you like curry you can also use that in your dishes, since turmeric is one of the main ingredients.
Ginger is another spice that is often included in the list of foods with miraculous properties. Anti-inflammatory, digestive and purifying, as well as effective against nausea, halitosis and sore throat, especially if in the form of herbal tea. It also has pain-relieving properties against arthritis, although scientific studies have shown that the effects in this case are mild. Even ginger turns out to be a very versatile spice in the kitchen, it can be eaten fresh, or in the form of herbal tea or even candied fruit, making the candies to be given, for example, to children in case of car sickness.
Rosemary is an aromatic herb widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, which is also rich in benefits. Antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it has digestive and diuretic properties. Also useful for its deodorising and antiseptic action of the oral cavity. Recent studies have shown that one of its components, carnosol, can be effective as an anticancer. However, it should be noted that it is not proven that the intake of rosemary has this effect, but only that this component can be used for the preparation of some drugs. In any case, rosemary is a much loved aroma, and consuming it often is certainly not difficult, given that it is part of the preparation of various recipes of Italian cuisine.
Garlic, even if someone might not consider it this way, is actually a spice. At most, if dry and powdered, it actually takes on the appearance of a classic spice, as we are used to understand it. Garlic can also be completely classified among superfoods, especially if consumed raw, since it contains more allicin, a substance with antibiotic properties. It also has purifying and antioxidant properties, as well as beneficial properties for the heart and the cardiovascular system. And finally, its effectiveness in preventing various types of cancer is demonstrated. The only downside is that it causes a bad breath and hard digestion. To overcome this it would be better to use it in combination with oil and other spices and herbs, and always eliminate the inner soul of garlic which is the most indigestible part.
Cinnamon, a spice that goes well with both sweet and savory, has antibacterial, stimulating and digestive properties. Useful natural remedy for colds, the flu and in general for cold-related disorders. Furthermore, recent studies show features similar to insulin, so even this spice can help those suffering from diabetes, and it is also able to attenuate the so-called nervous hunger. In the kitchen, as mentioned, it finds various uses, perfect for perfuming biscuits, but it also gives a particular flavor to savory dishes, for example the Bolognese sauce provides a hint of this spice in the original recipe.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, we talked about some of the most well-known and easy to find spices that have interesting and convenient applications. Sometimes fashions tend to exaggerate their properties, but since in most cases they do not involve contraindications, using them regularly without overdoing it can be an interesting thing, at least from a culinary point of view. They can certainly help us reduce the use of salt in the kitchen, and it's not a small thing. They also do not affect the caloric intake and the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and purifying effects that many of them can produce must be taken into consideration, and even if they are mild, with regular consumption and a varied and balanced diet can bring numerous benefits for our health.