Most of us pay attention to the food that we eat. The big food stuffs, at least. What we usually take for granted are the little stuff: the condiments, the spices and the herbs.
The spices and herbs we use in our kitchen come from flowers, leaves, seed, fruit, roots and other parts of plant. They not only give flavour to our food, they are also beneficial to our health. With the trend of limiting salt in our food for the sake of heart health, herbs and spices are important taste boosters. But what is also important is that some of them have special properties that help fight a wide range of chronic diseases, from heart disease to cancer, from diabetes to arthritis.
Let us take a look at of the top performers in our kitchen spice rack:
These peppers contain compounds that help in weight loss and control blood pressure, according to a report in WebMD. The compound dihydrocapsiate boosts fat-burning capacity and another one, capsaicin provides heat and lowers blood pressure in lab animals.
Besides being the star of Christmas baking, cinnamon contains antioxidants that may prevent inflammation and help control blood glucose concentrations in people with diabetes.
Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times wrote:
This hydrogen sulphide-boosting property makes garlic a powerful ally against cancer and heart disease.
This yellow pungent powder which gives your curry its color is practically a health superstar. The active ingredient is curcumin which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antibacterial, stomach- heart- and liver-protective effects
WebMD recommends simples tips on how to incorporate these health stars in out diet.
- Add 1.25 teaspoons to prepared oatmeal; 1 cup Greek yogurt mixed with 2 teaspoons molasses or honey, or artificial sweetener; and French toast batter.
- Sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon over ground coffee before brewing.
- Top a fat-free latte or hot cocoa with ground cinnamon.
- Add chopped peppers to chili, burgers, soups, stews, salsa, and egg dishes.
- Sprinkle on egg salad.
- Mix half a teaspoon turmeric with 1 cup Greek yogurt and use as a dip or sandwich spread.
- Add to chicken or seafood casseroles, and to water when cooking rice.
- Add fresh chopped or minced garlic to pasta dishes, stir-fry dishes, pizza, fresh tomato sauce, and meat and poultry recipes.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon dried to scrambled eggs, salad dressings, and store-bought or homemade marinara sauce.
- Sprinkle some on top of pizza, and stir into black bean soup.
- Make a sandwich with low-fat mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves; add fresh leaves to green salads.
- Sprinkle dried thyme onto cooked vegetables in place of butter or margarine.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme to two scrambled eggs, and to salad dressings.
- Use it in a rub when cooking salmon.
- Add fresh thyme to chicken salad and chicken soup.
- Add dried crushed rosemary to mashed potatoes and vegetable omelets.
- Add chopped flat leaf parsley to meatballs and meat loaf, and to bulgur salad.
- Grate fresh ginger into quick bread batters and vinaigrette.
- Add chopped ginger to stir-fries. Sprinkle ground ginger on cooked carrots.
- Sprinkle ground cloves on applesauce, add to quick bread batters, and add a pinch to hot