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Herbs And Spices For Better Digestive Health

Karishma Chawla

Karishma Chawla
24 October 2020

This article is authored by Karishma Chawla. She is a practising nutritionist and a weight loss expert. She advises people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or to achieve a specific health-related goal.

When it comes to improving digestion and optimizing digestive health, adding right ingredients is as important as removing the wrong ones from your diet. Many herbs and spices have numerous health benefits and you can take advantage of these benefits simply by including them in your diet on a regular basis! They can also positively influence the health of the gut bacteria and enhance your gut health. The good part is that you can also grow some of them on your windowsill and consume them fresh. Herbs and spices can also be used to make delicious herbal teas.

Tulsi (Basil)

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This herb has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to soothe nausea, gas and digestive spasms. If you are having fresh basil, have 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoons and dried crushed leaf, 1/8th -1/4th teaspoon.

Tip: Basil can be grown on a windowsill and used fresh. Fresh leaves make a wonderful tea. It can also be used as a garnish or ingredient.

Kaali mirch (Black pepper)

This spice can help with diarrhoea and constipation. Pepper helps speed up transit and absorption. It improves nutrient availability. If you are adding ground peppercorns to your diet, add 1/4th -1/2 teaspoon.

Tip: Black pepper is best when crushed right before use. Keep away from light.

Elaichi (Cardamom)

This sweet smelling spice has anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful for reducing and improving indigestion, reducing cramping and bloating. Consume ground seeds, 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon.

Tip: For best flavour, buy cardamom pods, then cut the seed pods right before cooking. Use in baking or to flavour coffee, soups and stews.

Dalchini (Cinnamon)

Cinnamon can promote beneficial bacteria growth and discourage potentially bad strains. It also has antihistamine properties. It has been used as an astringent for the gut and helps restore gut lining. It also helps with blood sugar regulation. Consume ground 1/8th – ½ tsp.

Tip: Use ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks. Use in baking, cooking or to spice up hot cocoa, apple cider and other beverages.

Saunf (Fennel)

It helps in improving digestion and suppressing appetite. It is a known as a digestive bitter that helps to release the digestive juices for better digestion. Fennel seeds also help to reduce gas, spasms and bloating. It is rich in antioxidants. Have 1/8th -1/4th teaspoon of saunf for it to have desired effect.

Tip: You can use bulb, leaf or seeds as seasoning. Fennel leaves are best used to add a sweet flavouring to soups or stocks. Fennel seeds are best in cooked dishes. The bulb of fennel can be grilled, eaten, or used in stocks and stews.

Jeera (Cumin)

It helps in improving digestion and suppressing appetite. It is a known as a digestive bitter that helps to release the digestive juices for better digestion. Fennel seeds also help to reduce gas, spasms and bloating. It is rich in antioxidants. Have 1/8th -1/4th teaspoon of saunf for it to have desired effect.

Tip: Boil cumin in water and consume it.

Turmeric

Turmeric has a protective effect on the gut lining and liver. It is a potent anti-inflammatory agent partly due to the component curcumin. It helps to break down of food, resulting in better absorption of nutrients and improving digestion, fat absorption and bowel movements. Also used as a digestive bitter again help to release digestive juices that help in better digestion and promote gut health. Consume powdered turmeric ½-3/4th teaspoon.

Tip: Get the most out of turmeric by combining it with a pinch of black pepper and fat like coconut oil to increase its availability. Try using turmeric with high curcumin content such as Tata Sampann Turmeric, which comes 3% curcumin guarantee.

Garlic

Garlic is known to help in reducing blood sugar. It is a strong antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal. Garlic is a sulphuric compound, having anti-inflammatory properties. Have one clove daily.

Tip: Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking reduces potency. The flavour of garlic is strongest 5-10 minutes after chopping a clove. Parsley can be used to balance any lingering flavour.

Ginger

Also known as turmeric’s cousin, ginger aids digestion. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It blocks serotonin receptors in the gut and soothes the GI tract. It helps to increase metabolism and feeling of fullness and thus helps to prevent obesity. Have dried ginger ¼ teaspoon or add freshly grated root 1/4th teaspoon to 1 tablespoon.

Tip: Use fresh, dried, pickled or cooked ginger to add a warm spice to foods and drinks, or use as a digestion aid.

Dill

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Dill has anti- parasitic qualities. It is used to control gas and supports gut dysbiosis, meaning the imbalance in the gut bacteria that can lead to gut issues and stress related GI disturbances. Use dried dill 1/8th -1/4th teaspoon or 2-3 fresh sprigs in your foods.

Tip: Use it as a garnish as it comes from the same family as parsley.

Oregano

It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and can promote beneficial bacteria growth and discourage potentially bad strains. Dried ¼ tsp. Fresh 1/8 tsp.

Tip: Use fresh or dried. Dried oregano is more flavourful. Need only half as much when used fresh.

Rosemary

It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and can promote beneficial bacteria growth and discourage potentially bad strains. Dried ¼ tsp. Fresh 1/8 tsp.

Tip: Use it fresh or dried. To prepare fresh rosemary, pull leaves off stem and chop. It goes great with savoury dishes.

Sage

Sage has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It aids digestion and protects against infection. If you are adding dried sage, add ½ - 2teaspoon and if you are using fresh leaves, add about 3-4 leaves.

Tip: Use fresh or dried leaves. Two teaspoon of fresh equals to 1 teaspoon dried sage. Sage leaves add a great flavour to savory dishes when sautéed in oil, ghee or butter.

Herbs and spices have many health benefits, including for the gut. Herbalists traditionally use them as concentrated extracts, but anyone can add fresh herbs at end of cooking – or dried herbs during cooking to avail their benefits easily.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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