Surprising Facts About Spices
Spice is an aromatic plant or part of a plant used in very small amounts in food preparations for seasoning, taste, flavor, aroma, color and texture. They are used whole, crushed and powdered. Many of these spices inherently possess antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties that are mainly due to the presence of essential oils and phytochemicals. Along with improving the taste of so many foods, they help preserve food for longer periods of time. Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables.
Let’s have a look at some common facts about spices:
A. Spices can influence weight loss
Although adding spices in the daily diet cannot replace intake of unhealthy foods and poor exercise which are essentials for weight loss, spices can speed up weight loss. Research suggest, consuming hot peppers like cayenne can increase body heat and boost metabolism. Cayenne has many health benefits and can improve the absorption of other nutrients in foods. It has been shown to increase circulation and reduce the risk of heart problems. It can be added to practically any dish, meat, vegetable or sauce. It also seems that spices can decrease appetite and decrease the number of calories eaten.
B. Cinnamon aids in fat burning
Cinnamon has the highest antioxidant value of any spice. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels. Cinnamon has also been used to alleviate nausea and to increase sensitivity to insulin and aid in fat burning. It provides manganese, iron and calcium. Its antimicrobial properties can help extend the lifespan of the foods.
C. Turmeric is the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredient
Largely due to its curcumin content, turmeric is often credited with these turmeric powder benefits like fighting inflammation, being a powerful antioxidant, protecting the heart in various ways, helping tackle arthritis, being brain boosting and also helpful for fighting diabetes. It is a common ingredient in Indian foods. Black pepper is known to make turmeric more effective. Black pepper contains piperine, which has been shown to significantly increase the absorption and effects of turmeric – enhancing turmeric powder benefits.
D. Dill has antibacterial properties
Dill is known for its stomach settling ability. It contains a variety of nutrients but loses most when heated to high temperatures. For this reason, it is best used in uncooked recipes or in foods cooked at low temperatures. It is a great addition to any type of fish, to dips and dressings, to omelettes or to poultry dishes.
E. Ginger helps to increase metabolism
Ginger is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It contains gingerol, shogaol and zingerone and many volatile compounds which give ginger a pungent strong aroma and flavor. It is helpful in tooth aches, nausea and joint pain. Ginger, like turmeric, aids in digestion. Regular consumption can help against obesity as it increases metabolism and also helps with a feeling of fullness.
F. Fenugreek seeds help in management of diabetes
Fenugreek seeds are strongly aromatic and flavourful. It is believed to have a hypoglycemic effect, which is attributed to the presence of an active compound trigonella. Fenugreek seeds are a good source of fiber and also lowers the levels of serum lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides.
To avail these benefits of spices, it is important that the spices that you use in your food are pure without any adulteration or synthetic additions. Spices must contain their natural oils which are responsible for their taste, aroma and health benefits. Pick the right the spices to cook healthier and tastier food.
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